Friday, September 18, 2015

Premium Quality Persian Rugs Will Be Available Again in USA Without Restriction with Approval of Nuclear Arms Deal with Iran | (Photos)

Persian Rugs Returning
Iran "treaty" will allow them back in U.S.
Thomas Lester -- Furniture Today, September 9, 2015

HIGH POINT — For those in the rug industry, the names and looks are familiar -- Tabriz, Kerman, Sarouk, Kashan, Heriz -- fine quality reproductions and interpretations of popular Persian design rugs from countries other than Iran are available in rug showrooms nationwide.

But, since September 29, 2010, no genuine Persian rugs have legally entered the United States because of sanctions against Iran and an embargo on Iranian products. (Anything in country prior to that date can still be sold.)

That will soon be changing. Under terms of July’s nuclear limitations agreement in place between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the U.S., Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China — plus Germany and the European Union, it’s possible that Persian rugs will again make their way to our shores. (The agreement does not take effect until Iran is certified to have met specific terms of the deal.)

According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. imported around $1.1 million worth of Iranian rugs in 2010 — the last year Iranian rugs could legally be brought here. Records show Iran never exceeded more than $2.7 million in rug shipments to the USA in any single year from 2000 to 2010.

When the worldwide economy collapsed in 2008, rug producers lowered production values in order to make their products more affordable; and started making lower-end rugs. As a result, less expensive tufted (so-called "handmade") and machine-made rugs dominate the American marketplace today. The return of Persian rugs could serve again to strengthen the upper (quality) end of the area rug category, but as demand for high quality productions increases again, there are today fewer skilled rug weavers available than in 2007.

Programming of true handmade (hand-knotted) oriental rugs -- producing the same design many times and in different sizes -- will be key for Iran as seeks to reclaim a share of the American area rug business. Iran's strong "one-of-a-kind" business will need to transform itself to some degree in order to produce at adequate program levels. Iran and the rug industry stand to benefit. Rug importers/dealers in the USA will have to steer Iranian weavers to become responsive to American tastes. They will have to improve on colors; and make some adjustment in their standard sizes (which are based on metric rather than English measurement standards.) 

Prior to the present embargo, the Persian rug industry was effectively part of the art market in this country: antique dealers, boutique specialty rug stores, and people interested in finely crafted Persian (Iranian) rugs as art. Some people bought them as investments. Rug imports from Iran should bolster the top of the rug industry. It will likely take at least six months to a year to reestablish the market for Persian rugs once existing sanctions, and the current embargo, are lifted.

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