TEHRAN: Iran exported 176 million U.S. dollars worth of hand-woven carpets during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22), which shows a 20 percent fall compared with the corresponding period of last year, Eghtesadonline news website reported on Tuesday.
“Some 32 percent of our handmade carpets used to go to the United States. We have now lost that market due to the re-imposition of the U.S. sanctions against our country,” Chairwoman of Iran National Carpet Center, Fereshteh Dastpak, was quoted as saying.
Iran has to replace new markets to compensate for the decline in exports to the United States, Dastpak said.
Handmade carpets have always been among Iran’s top non-oil exports even through the hardest years experienced by the country’s economy, she said, adding that “handmade carpets are deemed Iran’s second flag and a symbol of Iranian identity and culture.”
“Some 2.5 million people in Iran are engaged in the carpet industry,” she said.
About 80 percent of hand-woven carpets produced in Iran are exported annually, according to Dastpak.
The United States, Germany, Lebanon, Britain and China are the biggest customers of Iran. Italy, Switzerland, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar are other traditional buyers of Iranian carpets.
According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran’s handmade carpet exports stood at 5,400 tons worth 424 million U.S. dollars in the last fiscal year ended on March 20, 2018.