Prices of Iranian Carpets Drop Due to US Sanctions

Monday, 19 November, 2018 - 10:30
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran's carpet sector suffered heavy losses after exports to the United States stopped after the re-imposition of the second round of US sanctions earlier this month, according to the Association of Iranian Rug Dealers.

The US accounts for 35 percent of Iran's carpet exports, equivalent to $120 million a year, out of $400 million, state-owned ISNA news agency quoted Abdollah Bahrami, the head of the National Union of Cooperatives of Iran’s Carpet Manufacturers, as saying.

“Iran has lost a fertile market after sanctions have been enforced," he said, explaining that they have caused the suspension of exports of Iran’s carpets to some countries.

Bahrami pointed out that expenses and financial problems prevent the organization of permanent exhibitions for Iranian carpets.

"We are now seeing a decline in carpet exports," he stated, calling on the government to provide financial support to find solutions that encourage new markets to receive Iranian carpets.

Since November 6, Iran has not exported carpets to the United States because of the imposed sanctions.

The Iranian official pointed to the possibility of circumventing the sanctions and exporting carpets to US markets.

However, he stressed that this means losing the reputation of Iranian carpets after exporting them from a third country and in the names of their competitors.

Iran's carpet exports have fallen about $100 million since the sanctions took effect, which affected six million Iranians, who depend on selling carpets for living.

Iran has been looking for new destinations to export its carpets in order to compensate for losses in US markets.

Exporters are focusing on emerging markets such as Russia, China and southern Africa, according to Bahrami.

Last Tuesday, Head of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce's Exports Committee Razi Haji Aghamiri said the US market is the most important destination for Iranian carpets, stressing that his country "has lost the market forever."

ILNA quoted Aghamiri as saying that the Iranian carpet had lost its value against competitors after diplomatic ties between Iran and the US were severed in 1979 and the imposition of sanctions on Tehran.

"Some traders have tried to smuggle Iranian carpets into the United States through Canada and Mexico, but it seems that Trump's administration is more aggressive than that of Obama and has closed this route," he said.

"Iran is losing its markets to Pakistan and India,” Aghamiri stressed.

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