Director of the Gold and Jewelry Producers and Exporters Union has voiced growing concern over the adverse effects of the illegal import of foreign jewelry into the market.
According to Ebadollah Mohammad-Vali, import of all foreign jewelry items is illegal. He said all the gold and jewelry items manufactured abroad are smuggled into the country and sold without certificates of authenticity.
“While in the past nearly 80% of gold items were smuggled now the figure has declined to 50%,” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 8th International Exhibition of Gold, Silver, Jewelry, Watches and Associated Industries, he said with the lifting of the international sanctions against Iran, the relevant officials and bodies are expected to protect the domestic jewelry producers against smugglers and those importing jewelry illegally by bypassing the law.
“We expect the government to stand up for domestic producers. Turkey, for instance, by supporting its jewelry manufacturers, not only stimulated its jewelry industry but also easily entered and dominated Iran’s jewelry market.”
Noting that the considerable amount of the jewelry smuggled into Iran comes from the neighboring Turkey, he said while he is not in favor of stifling competition in the industry. Nevertheless the rampant smuggling was harming Iranian companies because goods cross the border without paying custom duties, thereby enabling Turkish-made jewelry to compete easily in Iran’s market.
If the government does not effectively support the domestic production in line with the resistance economy (guidelines proposed by Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei to boost local manufactures, create jobs and curb dependency on oil revenuers), the market will be lost to foreigners, he added. “Government support is also a key to a strong presence in the international market.”
Rampant smuggling known as “illegal imports” in Tehran’s political jargon, has emerged as a major threat to the domestic economy. The problem is not restricted to jewelry, gold or precious stones as it extends to almost all sectors of the economy. Governments past and present have regularly complained of smuggling of everything from “pin to plane” but have done next to nothing to check the plague. The incoming list is long and includes apparel, home appliances, cell phones, computers, auto parts, cosmetics, food products, fruit and tobacco, not to mention cats and horses from China.
The smuggling pie, usually linked to vested interests and powerful institutions, is now said to be worth $20 billion a year. It is worth mentioning that the illegal business is not a one way street and incorporates exports namely exquisite rugs, gasoline, cattle and pharmaceuticals to the neighboring countries.