Carpet export hit hard

Kathmandu, September 9:

Nepali carpet export has been hit by frequent bandhs and strikes. “The regular disturbances have reduced the carpet export,” Neeraj Nepali, director of Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) said, adding that the major factors contributing to decrease in exports are labour problem, increase in cost of production and political instability like bands and strike.

According to Trade and Export Promotion Board (TEPB), woollen carpets holds 30.8 per cent of total exports. The major buyers of Nepali carpets are Germany and the US.

“Germany and the US — that buy 33 per cent and 31 per cent of total carpet export respectively — are the largest buyers of Nepali carpets,” according to the TEPB. In the year 2006-07 the total of 14,09,406 sq-metre of carpet worth Rs 5,303,238,000 was exported.

However, there is a need for transparency and responsible business practice in the carpet industry. STEP Foundation Nepal with an aim to create secure international market for handmade Nepali carpets and to help face challenges organised a programme here today on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Globalised Market in the production and trade of high quality carpets.

Talking on the CSR, Nepali said, “CSR helps doing business in ethical way that respect people, society and the environment. It is also about operating business in a manner that positively impacts all its stakeholders and exceeds legal requirements.”

“There are various benefits of CSR like it increases sales and profitability, market shares, strengthen brand positioning and differentiate it, increase in ability to attract, motivate and retain employees, reduce conflicts and costs and increase potential for export through quality, punctuality, adherence to international regulations and non-tarrif barriers,” he added.

According to the STEP, international buyers are pressuring small producers in developing countries like Nepal to be more responsible socially as well as environmentally. The programme also focused on small changes in an organisation that can make them responsible and how they can compete in the global market.

Swiss Agency for Technical Assistance (SATA) has been contributing in development of the carpet industry in Nepal through financial and technical support to the Tibetan refugees resettlement programmes.

The Nepali-Tibetan carpets have a very high degree of hand processing and qualities ranging from 60-150 knots per square inch. At present, 95 per cent of the production of carpet is concentrated in the Kathmandu valley with remaining five per cent spreading over a number of other districts throughout the country.