For the first time ever in Iran, Switzerland’s textile machinery manufacturers exhibited in their own pavilion at the recent Irantex show, under the umbrella of their representative body the Swiss Textile Machinery Association (Swissmem). A total of 13 Swiss companies took part, reinforcing the impact of their successful symposium in Tehran last year.
The exhibition, at the Tehran fairgrounds from September 4 to 7, attracted wide international participation, and Switzerland’s special pavilion – its first for a decade – helped its companies to make a strong impression on trade visitors. Business contacts were enhanced, and the Swiss exhibitor group was able to report that some notable project negotiations were finalised at the event.
“Feedback was very positive,” said Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association. “Our companies valued their participation and the quality of business contacts, and the exhibition provided an excellent follow-up to our Iran symposium in 2016.”
Swiss firms exhibiting were: Jakob Müller, Benninger, Willy Grob, G. Hunziker, Stäubli, Norsel, Retech, Heberlein, SSM, Luwa, Steiger Participations, Saurer, and Drop Chemicals. A highlight was the visit of Switzerland’s ambassador to Iran, Mr Markus Leitner, to the pavilion. He met with the Swiss exhibitors and discussed the opportunities and challenges of doing business with Iran.
The reaction to the show from Benninger area sales director Peter Vormbruck typified the enthusiasm of the Swiss exhibitors: “We found that customer interest in high-quality and technology-driven machinery was very positive,” he said. “There was even a strong desire to overcome the financial complexities to enable the Iranian industry to take advantage of the imported products. We were pleased to have some very open discussions on technology and opportunities in this important market of Iran.”
Following the ending of most international sanctions on Iran at the start of 2016, there was a need to reintroduce and expand the financial and trade frameworks, to allow the Iranian textile sector to upgrade its technology levels. The 2016 symposium provided guidance on this issues via experts in the field, and this progress was continued at Irantex.
In this context, consultant Verena Utzinger attended the show to support both Swiss and Iranian partners. She outlined the work of SERV, the Swiss Export Credit Insurance organisation, which secures exports of Swiss companies against political and transfer risks, as well as payment losses, and provides additional liquidity for specific export deals.
She commented: “SERV has many years of very positive experience with Iranian buyers. At Irantex we were able to present the available services for transactions between Swiss and Iranian companies, and facilitate talks about the markets, politics and customs of Iran.”