1220 GMT April 04, 2020
According to official statistics, Iran has exported handicrafts worth $150 million since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2019), said the head of the Iranian Handicraft Exporters Association.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Majidreza Hariri added, however, the figure announced for the value of unofficial handicraft exports from the country is twice as high.
Over the past few years, the average value of Iran’s annual handicraft exports has fluctuated between $140 million and $200 million.
He noted that the unofficial exports of Iranian handicrafts mostly pertain to what was purchased in Iran and then taken to other countries either by Iranian nationals living in other countries or foreign tourists.
Commenting on the method employed by Iran’s customs authorities for pricing export items, including handicrafts and other goods, Hariri said over the past few months, the country’s exporters had complaints about prices set for their products.
The association’s head added that they said the set prices were high, thus reducing the competitiveness of their goods in international markets.
The authorities, however, gradually made some adjustments to the prices and brought them down, he noted.
Customs valuation is the process where the related authorities assign a monetary value to a product or service for the purposes of imports or exports. Any goods declared to the country’s Customs Administration as an export item has a price determined in advance by a state authority. Thus, a list of export prices is handed over to the country’s Customs Administration, banks and other organizations. This pricing method and the obligation on exporters to abide by this list help minimize variations in the price of a single item, making it possible for the customs authorities to commit exporters to injecting their forex revenues into the domestic economy and impose taxes on export goods.
After the exporters objected to the pricing of their goods, citing the increase in export costs and problems resulting from US sanctions on Iran, the average base for the customs valuation of Iranian export goods was lowered by 30 percent in the current Iranian calendar year.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Iran, mainly targeting the country’s exports.
Commenting on US sanctions, he said they have definitely impacted exports from all domestic sectors.
However, Hariri added, in the handicrafts sector, the sanctions have mainly harmed unofficial exports.
Handicrafts are deemed cultural goods and highly susceptible to being impacted by the negative atmosphere created by hostile media and their propaganda against a country, which is the situation Iran is experiencing at present, he said.
As a consequence of Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran, the hostile foreign media are not publishing appropriate news about Iran, which has negatively impacted the country’s handicraft exports.
Commenting on the country’s export capacities in the handicrafts sector, he gave assurance that if obstacles are removed, Iran’s overseas sales of such products will reach $2 billion in five years.
Hariri said Iran ranks third in the world after China and India in terms of the diversity of its handicrafts and production size, expressing regret that the country fails to be among the world’s top exporters in this field.
He described China as a new lucrative market for Iranian handicrafts, adding that three centers have been established in the East Asian country for selling Iran’s handicrafts.
In case of drawing up an effective plan, Iran’s overseas sales of handicrafts to China can reach $200 million in four years.