Friday, 17 January, 2020

World Eager to Buy Persian Carpets

Iran’s famed carpet weavers are busy at work following the country’s nuclear deal, anticipating a boost in exports as sanctions are set to be lifted in the months ahead.

“The Persian hand-woven carpet is Iran’s Ambassador. I am delighted that the Ambassador is in the process of resuming work in the US,” exporter Jila Rassam Arabzadeh said this week. “The Persian carpet is like the Iranian flag, known all over the world. Let our flag fly.”

As part of the deal, the US will resume imports of Iranian carpets, which were halted in 2010.

Persian carpets were the Iranian non-Crude Oil commodity that suffered most as a result of sanctions.

The US market had made up 20% of Iran’s carpet exports. Hamid Kargar, president of Iran’s national carpet center, said producers in nation are already making carpets with Americans in mind and are hopeful that trade will resume in 2016.

“People in the carpet business have begun to produce carpets suiting the taste of the American market, receiving orders and negotiating with customers,” he said. “Since 2010, we lost 20% of our exports because we were deprived of the US market. Our rivals replaced Iran. However, we expect that Americans will welcome Persian carpets again because of its unique designs and colors.”

Iran exported $330-M in Persian carpets last year.

Exports account for 67% of Iran’s carpet production, which now stands at over 53-M sqf per year.

Iran was once the world’s biggest carpet exporter, but the industry has been hampered by the Western sanctions and competition from Indian, Pakistani and Chinese copies of traditional Iranian patterns.

Ms. Arabzadeh said she is preparing to respond to a variety of American customers.

“Americans and Canadians prefer light colors but the older generations go for darker ones. We are reassessing to meet the demands of our American customers,” she said.

Hand-woven Persian carpets can range in cost from several thousand dollars to multi-million dollar floor coverings fit for palaces.

In 2000, Iran shipped a giant hand-woven carpet to the King of Oman worth $5.2-M. In 2006, Iran produced the world’s largest hand-woven floor covering, worth $8.5-M, for the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Iran is also seeking to resume exports of Pistachios, another major Iranian non-Crude Oil commodity.

However, over the past 20 years, the US itself has become a major pistachio producer and Iranian imports face 300% duties. The tax was imposed to protect American producers, according to Mohsen Jalalpour, head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce. He’s confident, though, that Iranian Pistachios have a special advantage. “Americans like the taste of Iranian Pistachios more than that of their own,” he said.


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