Marketing and planning problems plague Iran's carpet industry
The Iranian carpet manufacturing sector has under-performed during the past decade, largely because of problems related to marketing and planning, stated the Iranian Carpet Exporters Association (ICEA), in a recently released reports quoted by the Iran Daily.
According to ICEA, Iran's carpet exports are hindered by an obligation to arrange foreign exchange (forex) certificates, the implementation of inappropriate economic and hard currency policies, unrealistically high evaluation rates for forex certificates, as well as other cumbersome regulations.
In 1991, Iran exported $1.12 billion worth of carpets, which equaled 43 percent of the country’s non-oil exports. This figure peaked in 1994, with exports worth $1,67 billion, representing 44 percent of non-oil exports. But during the years that followed, carpet exports fell consistently, eventually bottoming out at $576 million in 1998. They rebounded by 19.1 percent in 1999 to reach $686 million.
Through the first two months of the current Iranian year, which started March 20, 2000, carpet exports were 24 percent lower than the corresponding period of the previous year. A contributory cause was a spate of religious and public holidays during the period.
According to Dr. Sobheh, a member of the ICEA's board of directors, Iran's carpet sector suffers from inadequate planning, particularly when it comes to relating production to market demand. The tendency among Iranian producers, he said, is to attempt to sell what goods have been woven, without taking into consideration what are market's demands and preferences.
Sobheh cited various other problems afflicting his country's carpet industry. These include a rise in quantity at the expense of quality; low investment in employment generation; lack of centralized workshops in Iranian cities; poor marketing programs; stiff regulations in receiving visas for commercial purposes; burdensome progressive taxes on carpet exports (which begin at 12 percent and rise as high as 54 percent); and the financial plight of carpet weavers and artists.
In order to revive Iran's lagging carpet sector, Dr. Sobheh suggested forming a working group to explore the factors behind the industry's stagnation. He also recommends providing advanced training courses for the sector's workers. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)