Iran clothing industry victimized by mismanagement, smuggling
Tehran, Iran, March 6
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran's clothing industry has been grappling with the problem of cheap foreign-made products smuggled into the country for long.
Every day, 142 containers of clothing items are smuggled into Iran from Turkey, according to Mohammad Javad Sedqamiz, advisor at Clothing Union.
"We are not worried about Italian brands, which are finding their way into the market after sanctions were lifted, because we can compete with them in terms of price. [The government] should prevent the $5 billion smuggling," he told Nasim news agency March 5.
Smuggled clothes coming from Turkey have turned into a major threat as there seems to be no effort to fight the smuggling, Sedqamiz said.
"The Turkish government has obviously adopted dumping policies for our country, testified by the fact that they have confessed to their $5 billion export of clothes to Iran," he further noted.
"This only belongs to Turkey and does not include the amount taken into the country by ships from Dubai or China. The amount is not small enough to say it cannot be traced."
But it seems that the smuggling is not so much easy to fight. The Iran-Turkey border is mountainous, with many paths unknown to security forces.
"Every day we bring into the country thousands of clothing items via mountain paths and border crossings using mules and other animals," Othman, a tradesman from the border province of West Azarbaijan had told Magiran in 2006.
The local businessman had then said that thousands of people from border areas work in the smuggling business.
There is one more reason why smuggled wear succeed in attracting customers. Iran's clothing industry, like many other industries in the country, is far away from what could be called modern.
Various factors including mismanagement and international sanctions have kept the industry from equipping itself with the latest equipment and management systems, giving rise to production costs.
This has opened room for foreign-made clothing products to reach the market with much lower prices than Iranian rivals.
Mehdi Sepahvand is Trend Agency's reporter in Tehran. Follow him on Twitter @mehdisepahvand