Swiss technology to play a key role in Iran’s new start

Members of the Swiss delegation at the recent two-day symposium in Tehran (c) 2016 SWISSMEM
The textile industry of Iran is ready for a new beginning and determined to achieve future progress in technology and global market penetration, following the recent ending of international sanctions which hampered its continued development.
As long-term partners of Iranian textile companies, Switzerland’s textile machinery producers are eager to play a major role in their renewed growth, as was demonstrated at a highly successful two-day seminar held in Tehran.

The event, on April 25 and 26, attracted a total of 350 delegates – the attendance list reading like a Who’s Who of Iran’s textile industry. Companies were from the capital city itself, as well as from other textile manufacturing centres, including Isfahan, Yazd and Mashad. Organised by Swissmem, the Swiss national textile machinery representative body, the seminar featured a strong presence from the leading technology providers, including 40% of the association’s membership.

Swissmem president Ernesto Maurer reported that the seminar exceeded all prior expectations, in terms of both the number and importance of the Iranian companies taking part: “Before the imposition of sanctions we enjoyed a very strong business level and a good relationship with customers in Iran. This continued during the period of sanctions, but understandably at a lower level. In the new situation today, we are keen to intensify our relationship and business dealings to pre-sanction levels and beyond.”

Mr Maurer identified problems with transfer of funds between the two countries as one of the major hurdles during the sanctions period. “Therefore this was a key theme at the seminar, with two speeches arranged by experts on international financial transactions,” Mr Maurer said. “We are delighted that the seminar helped to strengthen still further the already strong ties between our respective industries.”

With export sales to Iran in the calendar year 2015 totalling 6.4 million Swiss Francs, Switzerland remains a significant provider of technology to the country and is anticipating the Iranian industry to account for a larger share of its global export sales total of more than 1 billion Swiss Francs in the coming years.

One of the leading Swiss company representatives at the event, Christian Lerch, of Jakob Mueller reflected that the Iranian delegates showed genuine appreciation at the partnership efforts of Swissmem: “Our customers were pleased that we brought a significant presence to their country in what is still a challenging business environment. From out side, it underlines the trust that we have in the country and also in the textile producers of Iran.

“Many of our Jakob Mueller customers took part, and they welcomed the chance for the exchange of technical and business information, as well as the valuable networking time and pleasant social programme for the evening. We wanted to demonstrate a real personal interest alongside the mutual business advantages”.

An expert insider’s view of the potential of the Iran textile industry came from Mehran Zehtab, of Kian SanatAfzar an engineering service company which represents Swiss companies Retech, SSM and Heberlein in Iran. Mr Zehtab said: "Swissmem is always welcome and its presence is needed in Iran. Now, right after the removal of the sanctions, it was really necessary to say a new ‘Hello’ to ourtextile industries, which have in the recent past had to rely on technology from lower-level suppliers in other countries.

“In our own specialist areas, such as synthetic fibre production and melt spinning in particular, companies in Iran are hungry for both know-how and latest technology in what is a critical and high added-value market. These are requirements which we believe the Swiss companies will be able to meet at a much more appropriate level in future.”
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