Since the formation of the Silk Road, Persians established themselves as very talented merchants.
If ancient Chinese and Indians struggled to sell their products, they were advised to give it to a Persian trader. “They can sell it to all the world” historical recommendations admired the talent of ancient Iranian salesmen.
But it seems that our ability to trade globally recently has reached a new level. According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdolnaser Hemati, there are 250 exporters in Iran who have not returned their 7 billion dollars to the country, out of which 70 exporters are “homeless”!
Although the statement triggered several protests by various institutions, we would like to congratulate our “Homeless Exporters” for their talent and hard work!
At a time when it is so hard for traditional Iranian exporters to trade with other countries, these homeless businesspeople have managed to sell billions of dollars of Iranian goods abroad.
Since the Iranian government cannot export its petroleum due to the US sanctions and has almost no access to its cash recourses abroad, it obliges the exporters from private sector to return their cash. In this way the government hopes to manage the supply of the foreign cash to the market. A strategy which has not shown any effectiveness so far.
Amid the worsening exchange rate and continuous devaluation of Rial, the Central Bank has decided to blame the exporters who do not bring their income back.
In response, the Chambers of Commerce and private communities claim that the Central Bank wants only to throw the ball out of its courtyard.
To be able to export or import, businesses in Iran, like many other countries, need a document called “Commercial ID”.
The Commercial ID is issued by the provincial chambers of commerce where the headquarter is located. The Commercial ID makes all the export and import activities traceable.
The Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Gholamreza Shafiei, has urged the Governor of the CBI to issue the details of the 250 Commercial IDs who have not returned their foreign cash to the country, particularly the 70 “homeless exporters”.
Tehran Chamber of Commerce has commented that it finds the statement quite offensive toward the 40,000 businessmen and women. Adding that the procedure of acquiring a Commercial ID is so well supervised that the Central Bank is just “erasing the problem” of not being able to control the devaluation of Rial.
As a coincidence, the author of this newsletter, herself has also applied for such an ID. We can confirm that the procedure is very THOUGH and ROUGH! It requires several documents and “in person” presentations; as well as authorities’ visits to the office and face-to-face meeting with them in the Chamber of Commerce. You need all kinds of approvals from the bank, university degrees, passing the Chamber courses, etc.
Considering our personal experience, we concluded that the only possibility is that there should have been another interpretation for Mr Hemati’s statement.
The exact word he has used in Farsi is “Carton-Khab” meaning the person who sleeps rough. The term is almost always understood as “homeless” or “Il barbone” in Italian, “die Penner” in German, “le clochard” in French and “El vagabundo” in Spanish (for other languages we look up to you).
However, it might refer to a forgotten tradition.
As history tells us about the Samurai’s who slept on Tatami mats and wooden pillows, maybe in ancient era, successful exporter also slept among cartons?! And therefore the Central Bank did not want to say today’s top exporters are also “homeless” but rather informing us where they sleep.
However, in this case, further information from historians might be needed!