Nepal’s newly appointed prime minister, Pushpa
Kamal “Prachanda” Dahal, recently made a visit to New York home furnishings retailer ABC Carpet & Home.
The prime minister’s visit to ABC Carpet was part of his mission to promote trade development and expansion with the United States to assist with Nepal’s economic progress. Prachanda, accompanied by several executive members of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, addressed the current state of the Nepalese rug industry and the emerging labor problem.
“Nepalese rugs are very important to our business,” said Alex Kimia, vice president of ABC Carpet. “They account for a significant portion of our annual revenue.”
ABC Carpet is one of the leading importers of rugs from Nepal. Over 25 percent of its stock is composed of Nepalese goods. ABC Carpet has been directly importing from Nepal for over 10 years. It runs production orders with over 25 vendors and stocks more than 75 different Nepalese suppliers.
The demand for Nepalese rugs in the United States has increased 12 percent over the past year, as indicated by the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, there are labor cost issues surfacing that could pose a threat to the industry. Labor parties are demanding wage increases up to 25 percent in major carpet production facilities in Nepal. This could increase operating expenses to the point where factories may be forced to close down.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre of Nepal, wool carpets are Nepal’s largest export, comprising 30 percent of all export commodities.
“An industrywide solution needs to be devised in order to preserve the vitality of handmade carpet business in Nepal and abroad,” Kimia said.