Swiss technology will take a key role in the new start of Iran
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 was taking place on April 25 – 26, 2016, and it attracted a total of 350 delegates – the attendance list reading like a “Who’s Who” of Iran’s textile industry. Companies stemmed 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 leading technology providers, including 40 % of the association’s membership.
Swissmem President, Ernesto Maurer, reported that the seminar exceeded all expectations, in terms both in view to the numbers and importance of the participating Iranian companies: “Before the imposition of sanctions, we enjoyed a very strong business level, and a good relationship with customers in Iran. These continued during the period of sanctions, but understandably at a lower level. In the new situation of today, we are keen to intensify our relationship and business dealings to pre-sanction levels and beyond.”
Maurer identified problems with transfer of funds between the two countries, and earmarked them 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,” Maurer added. “We are delighted that the seminar helped to further strengthen and enhance the already strong ties between our respective industries.”
With export sales to Iran in 2015 totalling 6.4 million Swiss Francs, Switzerland remains a significant provider of technology to the country, and it is anticipating the Iranian industry to account for a larger share of its global export sales total of more than CHF one billion 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 of the partnership efforts by Swissmem: “Our customers were pleased with the significant Swiss presence in their country, and in what is still a challenging business environment. From outside, it underlines the trust that we have in that country, as well as 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”, adds Lerch.
An expert insider’s view of the potential of the Iran textile industry came from Mehran Zehtab, of Kian Sanat Afzar 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 our textile 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 being critical and in a high added-value market. These are requirements, which we believe Swiss companies will be able to meet at a much more appropriate level in future.”