Iran capable of becoming major Mid-East glass producer

Iran, a country enjoying comparative advantage for production of glass, can emerge as a major exporter of the commodity in the Middle East, managing director of a glass industries production union Mohammad-Reza Rajabi said here Tuesday.

Rajabi told IRNA that glass production in Iran is not hard currency intensive and given the abundant raw materials for its production, cheap labor and energy resources and low prices of the final product, export of the commodity should be supported.He said Iran exported about 9.8 million square meters of glass, worth US$9.5 million in the year ending March 2001, indicating 438 per cent growth compared to the figure for the same period the year before.The official said Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan are the markets to which Iran's glass products can be exported.He said presently there are four major glass making units operating in the country.He put the domestic demand for unprocessed glass at 330,000 tons a year and said the four glass production plants together produced 430,000 tons of glass.

Rajabi said a major glass production plant with the capacity of producing 120,000 tons will become operatonal next year. He said over the past five years about US$200 million has been invested in the glass industry.

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