Ethnically Divided Trade in Hamburg, Copenhagen and the World Economy - The Case of Global Persian Carpet Trade Through Ethnic Networks
Persian carpets have long been a major commodity in the world market, controlled by the Tehran Carpet Bazaar and the Hamburg Free Harbour. Today about 200 private traders in the Hamburg Free Harbour area export their carpets to about 10,000 private carpet traders throughout the world , these being mainly of Iranian origin. In spite of major political turbulence in Iran since 1979, the spreading of state controlled trading companies inside and outside of Iran, and increasing international market pressure due to the growth of copying production of Persian carpets in other countries, the Tehran-Hamburg axis remains the core of this trade - with private Iranian traders occupying the dominant position on both sides of the transaction line. In particular, it is Iranian traders of Azarbaidjan descent who speak “Azari”, a language similar to Turkish, who control the trade in both cities. This limited group of traders stick together in order to remain in control of this world-wide billion dollars trade while they, on the other hand, compete strongly amongst each other in their private businesses.