Having fallen under the adverse effect of international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, the Iranian machine-made carpet industry, like many other industries, slipped into recession.
Now, with the removal of most of those sanctions, industry players believe the expansion of exports is the only way to revive the domestic machine-made carpet business.
According to Meysam Navabipour, a veteran expert on machine-made carpets, a majority of machine-made carpet buyers today are from middle or low-income group whose purchasing power has declined over the years, IRNA reported.
Most of the purchases are being made on long-term instalment plans, which causes producers to face a shortage of liquidity and difficulty in procuring raw materials.
Navabipour said 25-30% of the domestic machine-made carpets are exported to Arab countries, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, China and Australia.
According to the expert, Iran’s machine-made carpet output currently stands at 80-85 million square meters while the annual production capacity is between 120 and 130 million square meters.
Noting that Turkey is Iran’s main rival in the region, he said it is necessary for Iranian producers to gear their style and designs to better accommodate the taste of their target markets and update their technology to remain competitive in terms of prices vis-à-vis their Turkish counterparts.
About 55,500 tons of machine-made carpets worth $306.5 million were exported from Iran in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2017), registering a 4.3% rise in weight and 8.9% decrease in value year-on-year, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s news portal reported.
Iran is one of the world’s largest producers of machine-made carpet, with the world-famous city of Kashan, located in Isfahan Province, home to 75% of production facilities.
The country is ranked as the fifth biggest exporter of machine-made carpets after China, Turkey, India and Belgium, according to Golnar Nasrollahi, director general of the Textile, Apparel and Leather Industry Organization affiliated to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade.