A commercial delegation from the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture to Geneva, Switzerland, has met with the Central European nation’s parliamentary officials among many others, who heralded a better future for Iranian-Swiss banking ties.
“Our two biggest banks are facing challenges in working with Iran because of the stance taken by the US, but our smaller banks are ready to have a presence in Iran,” an unnamed member of the Swiss Parliament was quoted as saying by the official news portal of TCCIM.
The lawmaker made the statements during a meeting with TCCIM chief, Masoud Khansari, who led a 40-strong Iranian business delegation to Switzerland for a three-day visit. The delegation, which arrived in the cosmopolitan city on Wednesday night, represented more than 30 private sector enterprises.
While noting that Swiss banks are cautious as a result of their trade links with US-based entities, the official said his country is ready to strengthen relations with Iran and remove the hurdles.
Khansari called on the Swiss Parliament to take measures for resolving banking problems and said Iran welcomes more Swiss companies to work inside the country.
As his main mission was to provide a more realistic image of Iran to Switzerland, he outlined measures taken in recent years to remove sanctions, tame inflation and end recession, introducing opportunities that could prove enticing to Swiss businessmen.
The Iranian delegation also took part in a convention called “Iran: 20 Months After JCPOA”, which refers to the nuclear deal by its formal name, holding talks with Swiss businessmen in addition to meeting with private sector representatives from the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
Iran reached the landmark deal with global powers in July 2015, which led to the termination of all nuclear-reacted sanctions imposed on the country after it was implemented in January 2016.
Khansari noted in his keynote speech to the conference that as the sanctions have been removed, it is now time for European nations to engage more with Iran and invest in the country.
As proof of improving conditions, he pointed to two globally accepted reports, one from the European Commission indicating an 80% year-on-year rise in Iran-Europe trade during the first seven months of 2017, and the other from the International Atomic Energy Agency which stated Iran has remained loyal to all its commitments under JCPOA.
The TCCIM president then pointed to other measures such as repeated suspension of active countermeasures against Iran by the Financial Action Task Force, improvement in Iran’s compliance with international banking standards and attraction of major international deals such as the one with French energy giant Total S.A. that signed a mega gas contract with Iran in early July.
Another positive step, as outlined by Khansari, was the establishment of an investment center at TCCIM that is tasked with “reviewing hurdles and problems on the way of attracting foreign investors” and “introducing potentials” to prospective investors.
The head of TCCIM also spoke with Geneva Tribune, a Swiss French-language daily newspaper.
In the interview, he noted that since the implementation of JCPOA in January 2016, more than 200 business delegations from Europe and Asia have travelled to Iran while during the past month, close to $30 billion worth of foreign finance were finalized with China, South Korea, Austria and Denmark.
Khansari stressed that in light of the disturbing stance taken by Trump, Europe must make its own approach clear because the US president “will not be able to individually ignore a multilateral international accord”.
The Iranian delegation also met with officials of Hinduja Bank Ltd –a lender originally founded as a finance company in 1978 and became a Swiss-regulated bank in 1994.
Officials of Hinduja BBank outlined the wide-reaching operations of the bank and its holding company in many countries, and announced that its online branch, which operates out of Germany, can offer services to Iran.