The textile industry is one of the oldest and at the same time the most important industries in the world, which due to its important role in job creation and industrial, economic and social development, has long been of special interest to countries and major economies. The diverse advantages of this industry, including currency exchange, production of national wealth, the need for less investment than other industries, as well as high added value, have led many industrialized and developed countries in the world today to industrialize themselves from the textile and clothing industries. To begin.

Textiles are woven fabrics made from yarn. Thus, the textile industry uses raw materials such as cotton or wool as raw materials and converts these materials into yarns that are later used to make fabrics. The raw materials used in this industry may be natural or synthetic. Synthetic raw materials used in the textile industry are produced using products from the chemical industry. The textile industry is involved in all the processes related to the conversion of these raw materials into final products. Clothing is one of the main and most significant, final products of the textile industry that meets one of the most important and natural human needs.
The textile industry includes all stages of fiber production, conversion of fibers to yarn, conversion of yarn to fabric, and also includes complementary processes performed on the fabric, such as dyeing, printing of designs and patterns on the fabric, sewing, and so on. Although the textile industry was initially limited to the design, production and distribution of yarn, but gradually, all types of clothing were included, and today, in addition to yarn, the textile industry also pays attention to the design, production and distribution of fabrics and clothing.
The list of equipment and machinery used in the textile industry is as follows:

  • Knitting machines
  • Crochet machines
  • Structural machines
  • Washing machines
  • Spinning machines
  • Fabric edge control device
  • Zipper making machines
  • Machines for fleece and other
  • animals
  • Fabric measuring machines
  • Fabric cutting machines
  • Embroidery machines
  • Garment sewing machines
  • Industrial sewing machine
  • dryer
  • Dyeing machines

History of the textile industry

Whereas the need for shoes and clothing, after food and shelter, is one of the most important basic human needs; The textile industry is one of the oldest human industries. In such a way that the signs and symbols of this industry have been obtained that date back to the Paleolithic period. In Switzerland, too, certain signs of Neolithic weaving have been found.

Before the Industrial Revolution, many textile products were made at home without the use of machines. But during the Industrial Revolution, the textile industry grew significantly. Because the production of machines and machines led to the establishment of textile factories. One of the key inventions that led to the prosperity and development of the textile industry; Mako, who used a hand and a knitting machine, made it possible to use fabric.

The spinning wheel made it possible to spin several threads at once. Then there was the motor knitting machine, which used steam power to weave fabrics. The spinning machine was a mechanical invention that allowed a better method to separate the cotton seed from the cotton fabric instead of the manual method. Jacquard knitting machine (fabric weaving machine) which allowed making various designs and patterns on the fabric.
Export and import market of textile industries
According to the World Trade Organization, the global market for textile and clothing exports in 2013 was $ 772 billion.

The largest textile exporters in 2013 were China ($ 274 billion), India ($ 40 billion), Italy ($ 36 billion), Germany ($ 35 billion), Bangladesh ($ 28 billion) and Pakistan ($ 28 billion). With $ 27 billion). The largest exporters of clothing in 2016 were China ($ 161 billion), Bangladesh ($ 28 billion), Vietnam ($ 25 billion), India ($ 18 billion) and Hong Kong ($ 16 billion), respectively. , Turkey (with $ 15 billion) and Indonesia (with $ 7 billion).

According to the vision document, Iran’s textile industry should reach the third rank in the region (Middle East) and the 50th rank in the world in 1404. The obvious meaning of this statement is that the name of Iran is not even among the top 50 countries in the world textile industry. The export target of this document has also been announced to reach $ 3 billion. The top ten exporters of textiles, clothing and footwear to the world are China, Italy, Germany, India, the United States, Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Belgium and France, respectively.
Iran’s position in the textile industry
About 50 countries, with annual exports of over one billion dollars, are active in the field of clothing exports. It can be concluded that the annual exports of Iran in the textile industry do not exceed even one billion dollars. According to experts, Iran has the potential to export more than $ 12 billion in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather.

Meanwhile, the export target of the textile and clothing industry in Turkey for 2023 – which is equivalent to 1402 AH and two years earlier than the target year of the strategic plan (1404 AH) – amounted to 80 billion dollars, or 26 Is equal to Iran’s export program in the field of textiles and clothing in that year.

The top five global apparel importers in 2014 were the United States ($ 86 billion), Germany ($ 36 billion), Japan ($ 29 billion), the United Kingdom ($ 28 billion) and France ($ 23 billion), respectively. These 5 countries together account for nearly half of the world’s clothing imports. The volume of clothing imports from the Middle East and Iran’s neighbors is over $ 40 billion, and the major importers are Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, respectively.

According to data from the Statistics Center in 1390 and a report by the Thomson Reuters Institute, the annual consumption of various products in the country’s textile, clothing and leather industries is estimated at about $ 20 billion. According to the latest statistics of the Central Bank of Iran, the annual consumption of urban household clothing is 1 million and 270 thousand tomans and the total current consumption of the country’s domestic clothing market is estimated at more than 30 thousand billion tomans per year. It is clear that the per capita global consumption of textiles and clothing is much higher than the announced numbers, and one of the reasons for its low level in the country is the decrease in people’s purchasing power and the economic recession in the country.

The beauty lies in the history of Iran’s textile industry
The textile history of Iran, the recorded history of civilization in the modern era of Iran dates back to the third millennium BC and their textile production is even older. Located between the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south, it is now a thousand-year-old commercial and cultural center. This country has witnessed the rise and fall of many weak dynasties, powers, and their various influences, all of which have left distinct cultural symbols in the art of this region, which give a unique look and history to Iranian textiles. It is impossible to forgive and repeat it.
The situation of the textile industry in Iran
Textile production in Iran dates back to the tenth millennium BC, and most Iranian weavers have rightly been praised as masterpieces. The first European style factory in Iran was established in the 1850s and was one of the first institutions in this country to use new technologies.
In the 19th century, most of Iran’s demand for textiles came from imports, mainly from India, which produced a wide variety of cotton fabrics. There was also some broadcloth for the high target market. Due to the widespread availability of raw materials (silk, cotton, wool, linen) in Iran, spinning, weaving, and weaving formed almost global employment. However, during the nineteenth century, most of Iran’s domestic textile industry disappeared slowly and then rapidly because it could not compete with cheaper imports from India and Europe (especially Britain and Russia). To prevent this attack, efforts were made to introduce modern textile mills that expanded imports. In 1850, a spinning and weaving factory was built in Kashan and Tehran, respectively; And in 1859, a spinning mill was built in Tehran. With a shortage of technicians and a technical infrastructure, Iran depended on imports of these resources, which added to investment costs. This was the first attempt to create a model for the manufacturing sector of the economy, which will be characterized over the next 150 years by import substitution, import of technology and technicians, and government subsidies.
Early textile mills could not enjoy government support due to the Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828). The agreement imposed a uniform import tariff of 5 percent, effectively preventing Iran from supporting its emerging industries through high import tariff barriers. Finally, in the 1920s, Iran and its trading partners negotiated new economic agreements, and textile mills and other state-owned companies immediately enjoyed government support through customs tariffs and non-tariff barriers. While these initial efforts were costly failures, the Silk Oil Factory, founded in 1884, was successful. Other successful silk textile mills were similar to the Russian factory in Birihkadeh, Gilan, which was built in the mid-1880s, and the spinning mills were built in 1902 in Semnan and in 1908 in Tabriz, respectively.
Fabric production continued to play an important role in the Iranian economy, but despite the rapid growth of new factories in the 1930s, it remained a rural industry. In 1923, the silk factory was reopened and in 1925, the Vatan textile factory began production in Isfahan. Between 1931 and 1938, at least 29 large-scale textile mills were funded by the government and private investors. Iran Textile Industry Center was established in Isfahan with eight workshops (5,372 workers), followed by Yazd with two workshops (1,074 workers), Kerman (696 workers) and Sari (3,396 workers) with one workshop. The weaving and sock weaving, wool cleaning, cotton cleaning, and other textile-related industries have also increased their capacity and workforce. In the 1930s, 32 sock weaving mills (1,584 workers) and 12 small wool cleaning mills (225 workers) were established. Most of the cotton cleaning industry, which grew in the early twentieth century, is located in Khorasan, the main cotton production area. By 1931, Iran had 26 textile factories with an average workforce of 25 workers per factory. By 1940, the number of spinning mills had increased to 76 (1,500 workers). Private capital was focused on the development of the textile industry. Prior to the launch of the first development program, there were state-owned textile factories, Behshahr textile factories in Ghaemshahr, Chalous silk factory and jute processing factory in Ghaemshahr. In 1940, modern textile factories employed 24,500 workers, while twenty years earlier only 1,000 workers were employed in the industry. In 1948, these factories were still operating. 26 weaving and spinning factories with 188,000 spinning mills produced 10,800 tons per year.

The equipment of all the textile mills needed to be repaired and replaced, and therefore the efficiency was low. Cotton weavers and yarns were imported, and cotton and wool fibers were used by the carpet industry to create yarns and fabrics.

In 1949, the domestic production of the textile industry was more than 55% of its production by hand, meeting only 40% of national demand. At the same time, 30,000 hand-weavers could not compete with imports and became unemployed, which negatively affected the employment of about 120,000 workers. After World War II, the government realized the need to repair and renovate old factories and develop new textile factories. It therefore promoted private and public investment. Factory production costs were high due to high overhead, lack of maintenance, poor equipment, and poor management, leading to low productivity. Textile sales peaked after 1950 due to the resumption of economic activity. Domestic demand for cheap fabrics was high, but not high on the market. Between 1945 and 1958, consumption doubled while capacity increased by only a third. Under heavy pressure and inefficient production methods, the industry could neither compete with cheap imports nor meet growing demand; And the supply of cotton was not always enough. The profitability of producing high-priced textiles increased due to import restrictions. In addition, the availability of foreign exchange made it possible to purchase modern technology that helped increase profitability by increasing labor productivity and reducing the need for capital and raw material costs.
The industry’s oversupply required exports, and in 1972, it was able to export 6% of total cotton textile production. The import ban was lifted in 1969, when rising incomes led to increased demand. In 1972, the number of spindles reached 900,000 and the number of weaving and weaving machines increased to 170,000, which resulted in the employment of 145,000 workers and doubled the workforce employed in 1962. The garment industry employed 70,000 workers in 1975. In the 1970s, over-inflation of the economy had a negative effect on the competitiveness of the industry. As wages rose sharply, this labor-oriented industry suffered from high production costs. Rising domestic demand reduced competition, which was only partially revived by lowering import tariffs to drastically lower prices, and by temporarily lifting import restrictions to address shortages of raw materials and end products. However, the industry continued to grow due to high domestic demand and strong government support. In 1979, the textile industry faced less competition than in 1969. In 1980, there were 1.4 million spindles and 35,000 spinning and weaving machines. This growth was considered a great achievement because the industry suffered from poor management and limited technical expertise – in short, limited resources – although they were often private. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, national factories became larger, and between 1980 and 1988, the government imposed a price control system on industry. Since all inputs were offered at subsidized prices, the industry was able to maintain its previous production level. During this period, the domestic textile industry faced many problems such as old equipment, lack of spare parts, inability to import needed parts and raw materials, as well as labor problems. There were no new investments and no plans were made to develop it. After 1988, price controls and input subsidies decreased, causing prices to fall and output to fall. This situation was exacerbated by cheap Asian textiles imported through the Kish Free Trade Zone, which remained competitive despite high import tariffs.
After the Islamic Revolution and further nationalization of the industrial sector, due to the unwillingness of private investors, not enough investment was made. Also, the government believed that the existing capacity was sufficient to meet domestic demand. Between 1980 and 1993, production capacity grew. The industry was completely dependent on the import of machinery and technology, the development of which was limited due to foreign exchange restrictions. The government then invested in two companies to assemble spinning machines; But that decision only changed the face of the problem, as these assembly companies also needed to exchange foreign currency. After more than a century, Iran’s industrial textile production was still unrivaled, although it benefited from domestic production, cheap wool, and labor, albeit little trained.
In the 1990s, returns increased due to increased revenue and tighter safeguards. In 1993, the number of spindles was 1.5 million and the number of knitting and weaving machines was 40,000. It is estimated that about 420 workers, or 30% of the total industrial workforce, work in the textile industry. Most of the workers worked in home workshops, which included unlicensed workshops for hand-woven carpets and small sewing shops. The production of textiles and industrial clothing, with a workforce of about 150,000, was the largest employer among other industries.Iran’s textile industry consists of companies that are active in spinning, weaving, weaving, dyeing, and printing, and use natural and synthetic fibers to produce a variety of woven and woven fabrics. The main items are textiles, blankets, hand-woven carpets, machine-made carpets, different wool textures, as well as fabrics and garments. In 1998 and 1999, 30 factories produced blankets, but their production capacity reached 15.5 million blankets, indicating export potential. Between 1984 and 1993, the average annual yield of machine-made carpets was 7.7 million square meters, and the amount of sergeant and felt up to 22.5 million square meters was much less than the demand of 122.5 million square meters. It was estimated for the year 2000. Iran has a strong industry for the production of crooked fabrics, 21 factories produced in this field produce 43 million square meters per year. Between 1984 and 1993, annual production fell sharply, but efforts were made to reverse this trend and even become a major exporter. It was estimated that between 1996 and 1997, about 55 million fabrics were produced in Iran. Many workshops are officially licensed by the Ministry of Industry and Mines, but there are many unlicensed workshops that produce large quantities of clothing. In 1996 and 1997, Iran exported 19,312 tons of clothing worth $ 210 million. Low labor costs have provided a competitive advantage for this sector. Among other textile items produced in Iran, hand-knitted knitwear is the most important and prominent product for export in the future.
The textile industry often produces fabrics entirely or partially from cotton, the source of which is domestically produced cotton. Cotton production increased by the end of 1975, when production reached 716,000 tons of non-essential cotton. Since then, production has declined due to government intervention and low prices for cotton. This process was accelerated by the collapse of large, mechanized cotton estates after 1979. Cotton production plummeted to 204,000 tons in 1981, forcing the government to ban cotton exports. However, cotton production continued to decline, and Iran even had to import cotton, while cotton prices rose. However, due to government reform measures, production has been growing since then. In 1993, the price of cotton increased around the world and became an incentive for more production in Iran. In 1995, production of crushed cotton increased to 150,000 tons per year, and in 1997 production reached 598,000 tons, of which 35,000 tons were exported. Recently, cotton exports fell and in 2002 only 3,200 tons were exported.
Although Iran’s wool production is very high, most of its products are used by the hand-woven carpet industry, and Iran uses low-quality imported wool to produce woolen fabrics. Iran has 102 cotton factories that produce 24,000 tons of woolen yarn every year; The home industry produces an equal amount. After pistachios, hand-woven carpets are the most important non-oil export items of Iran. In 1998 and 1999, Iran exported its hand-woven carpets worth $ 570 million. However, in recent years, Iran’s hand-woven carpet exports have declined due to fierce competition from other countries.
Iran has a large antelope population that has made it one of the largest producers of cashmere (cashmere): about 1,500 tons of the world’s total production of about 8,000 tons. Until recently, however, Iran did not have adequate facilities for processing Kashmir and therefore exported all soft wool in raw form. This represents a significant loss of revenue, as Iran could earn ten times more than it currently does with wool cashmere exports (99% of pure wool). If it could produce silk yarn, its income would increase by 10%. This amount can be doubled through the production of wicker garments. In the last few years, investment to record this value has increased. Kashmir Iranian Company is the largest wool cleaning and wool washing center in Iran.
Iran also produces a significant amount of silk, all of which is located in its carpet weaving workshops around Qom, Isfahan, Kashan and Nain. The Chalous factory closed in 1958. In the 1960s, it was re-launched and equipped with 7,344 spindles and 220 knitting machines. The company produced more than 500,000 meters of fabric in 1970, more than doubling domestic demand. In 2000, production reached 800 tons. In November 2003, the only silk yarn factory in Iran, in Soomehsara near Rasht, was closed due to the illegal export of cheap silk yarn. However, the plant has already been in the red for three years.
According to the Ministry of Industries and Mines, the total return of Iran’s textile industry (7,000 textile units) is 6.5 percent of value added, 7.8 percent of national industrial production, 19.3 percent of employment and 10 percent of industrial exports. . In 1995 and 2000, synthetic fibers and recycled cellulose fibers accounted for 1.2% and 1.5% of imports, respectively; All other textile products for which statistics are available account for less than 1% of total imports. In 1999, some clothing (0.2%) was exported.In 2001, the former state of Iran’s textile industry was blamed for the poor results of cotton production. That same year, the government responded by helping textile exporters receive $ 200 billion in annual subsidies. In 2001, textile production increased by 30 percent, but exports increased by 15 percent to $ 220 million, and in 2002, by as much as 45 percent. To compensate, the government hopes to modernize Iran’s textile industry through joint ventures with foreign companies in Japan, Germany, China and South Korea, mostly through the expansion of low-interest loans to private Iranian textile companies to buy. Required equipment, raw materials and technical expertise. The government provided $ 500 million in soft loans to modernize its textile industry in Iran.
In July 2002, it was announced that 31 textile factories would be privatized; This was done with the official policy of privatizing the entire textile industry, in order to become more competitive in the global market. The pressure of the world market was already felt, because in 2000, about two million meters of fabric had been illegally imported to Iran. At the same time, the government continued to invest in new government capacity. In August 2003, the largest textile factory in Iran was opened in Farmahin, near Arak, with a production capacity of 8,000 tons per year.
At present, Iran’s textile industry is facing many problems such as lack of liquidity and lack of foreign currency for the import of raw materials and spare parts; Old and worn out machines due to the impossibility of modernizing production lines, increasing wages; And finally, the inefficiency of the industry. Not only domestic yarns, but also goods imported at low prices due to low purchasing power are of low quality; In a way, the final product is also of low quality. Large exporters face macroeconomic problems, especially in relation to the problems of foreign exchange and the lack of active and adequate government regulations. Of course, it is an undeniable fact that the embargo on Iran’s textile industry has had many benefits in its growth and maturity, including more self-sufficiency and increasing knowledge-based production and optimization of production processes and the creation of export infrastructure by the government to increase Iran’s share. From this global market that will have many short-term and long-term positive effects on Iran’s economic recovery and growth.