Iran-Switzerland Joint Chamber of Commerce President, Sharif Nezam-Mafi announced that companies interested in the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) must not necessarily be owned by the Swiss Federation.
In an exclusive interview with ILNA news agency, the Iranian official said “The Swiss government has nominated 50 companies to operate the channel, those companies do not necessarily have to be Swiss-owned but their office should be in this country.”
Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, director of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) agency, has informed that 50 Swiss companies are interested in export channel to Iran.
"Iran has been especially hit by the coronavirus, and while there is no substance that helps against the virus, in general, the health situation is difficult," she said in an interview with broadcaster SRF on Saturday.
Sharif Nezam-Mafi added that these companies operate in three areas such as food, medicine, medical equipment, and cereals.
“So Iranian companies can get this equipment from these companies,” he confirmed.
Asked the number of companies would increase or not, the Managing Director at Bühler Iran & South Caucasus said that an increasing number of companies depend on negotiations by US Treasury, Iran Central Bank, and SAKO.
"Using the channel carries some costs for the central bank as it should allocate resources to the channel to the extent possible," Sharif Nezam-Mafi told ILNA.
The CBI can attract more companies to the scheme by allocating more funds to the channel, he said.
The SHTA seeks to ensure that Swiss-based exporters and trading companies in the food, pharmaceutical, and medical sectors have a secure payment channel with a Swiss bank, through which payments for their exports to Iran are guaranteed.
The arrangement has been in the works since US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in 2018 after walking away from a deal over Iran's nuclear program.