Golnar Nasrollahi, director-general of Textile and Clothing at the Ministry of Industries and Mines, said that around 40 per cent of Iran's textile plants urgently need renovation if the country is to compete in the global textile trade.

It would cost at least $500m to upgrade the plants over the next three years, she said, with a complete overhaul of everything from machinery to management practices being long overdue

The state-owned textile units have born the brunt of the problems in the country, she said. However, some 280,000 workers are still employed by the country's 7,000 factories, she added.

Share of world market in developing countries stands at $ 500bn and the amount is predicted to register an increase of 20 per cent by the year 2005, Nasrollahi said.

"We exported $230m of textile products from the country last year," she added.

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