E Economy

Iran National Carpet Center Chief: Online Sale of Persian Carpet in Partnership with Foreign Firms Planned

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The Persian carpet is a recognized international brand. Iran stands on the top of the list of hand-woven carpet producers and exporters in the world.

The United States is the biggest buyer of Persian carpets but re-imposition of unilateral U.S. sanctions in early August is expected to harm, at least temporarily, the Iranian carpet industry.

At the same time, Iran is after capturing new markets. And global studies show that there is an increasing demand for carpets around the globe and that the carpet industry is one of the fastest growing segments in the home textile market in the world.

According to Lucintel, an international market research firm, the global carpet industry is expected to reach an estimated US$39.1 billion by 2021. The major growth drivers for the global carpet market are growth in the construction _ particularly expansion of the housing sector _ and transportation industries and increase in renovation activities in different parts of the world.

Iran Europe Business Digest (IEBD) spoke with Fereshteh Dastpak, the Head of Iran National Carpet Center (INCC), on her center’s plans to capture new markets and promote the Persian carpet.

Dastpak was advisor to the Governor of North Khorasan Province on women affairs. Also, she had served as a senior manager of technical and vocational department and led the handicrafts department in the same province, in addition to other positions she had held for several years, before moving to the INCC. Destpak briefly served as Deputy Head of INCC prior to being appointed as its chief.

Here’s the full text of our interview with Dastpak:

How is the current state of Iran’s carpet industry? What are your plans to promote the export of Persian carpet?

Persian carpet is famous worldwide for its premium quality and texture. Iran has been and continues to be a pioneer in the export of hand-made carpets. It controlled more than 30 of the worldwide export volume in 2017. Carpet and pistachio are the two top non-oil export commodities from Iran.

Over 80 percent of the hand-woven carpet manufactured in Iran is exported. People around the world are attached to Persian carpet since it’s lively and pacifying. It’s a rich Persian art that portrays paradise.

Carpet production has directly or indirectly employed 2.5 million people in Iran. It’s Iran’s flag at the international stage. Persian carpet is the symbol of Iranian cultural and artistic diplomacy. It’s a representation of Iran’s rich culture and civilization.

Weaving carpet is a job-creating industry. Around 99 percent of the materials are procured locally. We only import a portion of the silk we need from abroad.

We are in the process of launching carpet houses in various countries. They would be non-governmental organizations promoting Persian carpet.

The United States, Germany, Lebanon, United Kingdom and Japan are major buyers of Persian carpet. Italy, France and Switzerland in Europe and the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in West Asia are other traditional customers.

We are actively seeking to promote online sale of Persian carpets to replace the traditional business marketing. And we welcome partnership with foreign marketing firms as well as startup companies willing to engage in online sale of rugs outside Iran. It’s a great chance for professional Internet marketers to create sustainable income for themselves through digital marketing of the Persian carpets.

The United States has been the largest importer of Persian carpet. What harm does the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions inflict on the Persian carpet business? What are your plans to contain the damage and fill the gap?

The first step by the Trump administration in re-imposing sanctions against Iran was to revoke license for the imports of Persian carpet. It was aimed at undermining the Iranian economy and provoking dissatisfaction among Iranians.

Hand-woven Persian carpet belongs to the Iranian people. It’s different from other products. It has nothing to do with politics.

We are in the process of making final consultations to file a lawsuit with international tribunals against U.S. sanctions on the import of hand-woven rugs because art should not be sanctioned. It’s a symbol of culture and intellectual property of the Iranian people.

The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions may create fluctuations in our carpet business in the short term but it won’t stop the American people from buying Persian carpets indirectly. The love of American people for Persian rug is there and will remain there.

Trump can’t resist the Persian carpet. At many of his meetings with global leaders, Persian carpet covers the floor. When he shook hands during a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018 in Singapore, it was a woolen Persian carpet in the room covering the floor.

At the same time, we are already in search of new markets. The whole world is our target, even Africa.

How is the INCC going to expand markets for Persian carpet?

We look at China, Russia, South Africa and some Latin American countries as important emerging markets for Iran’s hand-made rugs. We are conducting scientific studies to expand our markets. There are clear indications that global demand for carpets is on the rise. This creates potential opportunities for Iran’s business community to seize the chance and move forward.

At the same time, we have to compete with rivals who have worked to increase their influence in Iran’s target markets.

We have drawn up a publicity campaign, with Europe being in the center of this strategy.

However, we need Iranian and foreign private firms _ specifically European companies _ to jump into the wagon to promote the Persian carpet. So, we welcome those willing to join this business campaign and reap the economic benefits.

 

Iran-Europe Business Digest (IEBD) magazine has been launched to facilitate and promote business between Iran and Europe. 

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