A high-ranking Swiss trade delegation is scheduled to visit Iran in February to explore new areas of economic relations with Iran, said Switzerland’s former ambassador to Iran said.
Livia Leu Agosti, who is currently a delegate for trade agreements at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), made the statement in a meeting with the head of Trade Promotion Organization, Valiollah Afkhamirad.
The upcoming visit will be the second by a Swiss delegation to Iran in 2015, Mehr News Agency reported.
During a visit to Tehran in April, Leu Agosti led representatives from business sectors, including machinery, food, pharmaceuticals, processing and services, with the aim of exploring business opportunities and increasing bilateral economic relations.
"Iran won’t forget close collaboration on the part of Swiss government in recent years," said Afkhamirad, adding that Iran is willing to promote its trade ties with the European country. In October, the Swiss government announced it planned "in principle" to ease sanctions against Iran in line with the European Union and the United Nations following an international accord on Tehran's nuclear program.
The country’s Federal Council said it had instructed the economy ministry to prepare changes to the measures taken against the Islamic Republic, which "open new perspectives for cooperation with Iran".
According to the latest figures, the export of 3.5 million tons of goods valued at $1.65 billion during the eight months ending November 21 placed Switzerland among top five exporters to Iran.
Visa Facilitation Talks
Last month, Iran and Switzerland also discussed the possibility of easing the issuance of visas to academia, businesses and investors of both countries to expand bilateral ties. During talks in Bern, Ali Chegini, the director for consular affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and Urs von Arb, vice director for international cooperation at the Federal Refugee Office, discussed ways of strengthening diplomatic ties and emphasized the importance of relaxing visa regulations for the citizens of both states.
The two sides called for stronger cooperation and agreed that facilitating travel between the two states would be a strong first step. Chegini pointed to friendly relations between Tehran and Bern, and said the two states’ tourism industry would also benefit from strong two-way diplomatic ties.
"In addition to businesses and academia, tourists should also benefit from easy visa procedures," he said.