| April 30, 2017
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Carpet export up 11% despite border blockade

KATHMANDU, June 1: Export of hand-knotted carpet posted double-digit growth in the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2015/16 compared to data of the same period of the previous fiscal year.

According to Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), Nepal exported Rs 5.95 billion worth of hand-knotted carpet in the review period - a rise of 10.9 percent compared to first nine months of 2014/15 - despite border obstructions for nearly five months.
Officials of TEPC said carpet export increased despite the blockade as Nepali carpet is mostly exported to third world countries often through air routes. "As the market of Nepali carpet is third countries (except India and China), traders mostly use aerial routes for export. This is the reason why carpet export was not affected despite the blockade," Krishna Raj Bajgain, senior officer at TEPC, told Rpublica.

Except hand-knotted carpet and readymade garments (RMG), export of almost every product dropped in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, according to TEPC. Export of RMG increase by 5 percent in the review period.

Meanwhile, traders have said carpet export has increased in monetary terms not volume. "In terms of volume, export has fallen by 40,000 square meters in the review period, compared to corresponding period of 2014/15," Anup Bahadur Malla, president of Nepal Carpet Exporters' Association, said. He further added that Nepali traders exported high-standard expensive carpets this year as comparatively cheaper Nepali carpets has lost competitive edge in the international market.

"The demand for carpets of less than 100 knots is high in the international market. However, we have lost competitive edge in this category," Malla said, adding, "That is why we have been focusing on carpets of 100 knots and 150 knots which are expensive."

Traders said Nepali carpets of less than 100 knots have lost competitiveness due to lack of mass production which pushes up price of thee product. They urged the government to provide incentives to manufacturers so that they can go for mass production.

According to the association, western European countries like Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy and France were the major markets for Nepali carpets until few years ago. However, the US is the largest market for Nepali hand-knotted carpet these days.

Around 60 percent of Nepali hand-knotted carpet is exported to the US, according to Malla.
Sujan Dhungana

Sujan Dhungana is associated with Republica English Daily since July 2013. He has been writing and reporting in business issues with primary focus on transportation, industry, commerce and supplies, gadgets, fuel and dairy reporting.    
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