Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peculiar Times: Iranian Rug Embargo Redux

Recently, the US Congress approved and President Obama signed into law an act imposing a trade embargo on Iranian products, including hand-knotted rugs, and other woven textiles.

No rugs of Iranian manufacture may be brought into the United States while this act is effective (contingency based upon Iranian observance of UN directives regarding its atomic energy programs.)

The impact of this restriction on trade will -- if the history of the embargo of 1984-1999 is exemplary -- be significant, and noticeable within a short time. Prices will be non-negotiable (or less easily negotiated), and will increase two to four times from present levels over the next six to eighteen months. Variables controlling the price picture will be perception of change in the diplomatic standoff (not positive at present) and level of demand for Persian rugs (already increasing due to reduced supply from other rug-producing nations.)

One other challenge for rug-buyers (from the example of the prior embargo) will be an unfortunate inclination on the part of some suppliers to misrepresent the provenance of particular rugs (especially regarding age) for the sake of inflating prices.  Last go round, I can't count how many times I was told by suppliers that brand-new looking rugs were in fact forty to seventy-five years old (and worth immeasurably more as a result.) (This is kinda like tagging a rug at a price ten times higher than its actual sale price, but in this case you don't get the sale price.)

"Strange days, indeed."

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