New areas of Saudi-Swiss cooperation identified

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Saudi and Swiss officials sign an accord during a meeting trade and investment in Jeddah on Tuesday. (Courtesy: MCI)
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Saudi Minister of Trade and Investment Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi with Swiss Minister of Economic Affairs and Education Johann Schneider-Ammann during a meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday. (Courtesy: MCI)
Updated 18 July 2017
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New areas of Saudi-Swiss cooperation identified

RIYADH: New areas of cooperation in trade were identified on Sunday during a meeting held in Jeddah between Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi and his Swiss counterpart, Johan Schneider-Ammann.
During the meeting, the Saudi-Swiss sides discussed opportunities between the Kingdom and Switzerland and explored means of developing trade and investment opportunities, especially in the field of non-oil exports, as well as removing any obstacles that may hinder such activities.
There are 113 Swiss companies in the Kingdom, 94 of which are service companies and 19 are industrial. The volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Switzerland reached SR10.33 billion ($2.75 billion) in 2016.
It was also decided to provide Saudi companies with the latest technologies and expertise to raise the quality of Saudi products and facilitate their entry into European and international markets.
The two sides also stressed the importance of the Saudi-Swiss Business Council’s role in the promotion of business and investment activities between the two countries, and its contribution to current development issues, especially in the fields of high-tech precision industries and the search for specific quality investment opportunities.


French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

Updated 24 September 2018
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French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

PARIS: French state-owned bank Bpifrance has abandoned its plan to set up a mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran, in the face of US sanctions against Tehran.
Earlier this year, the bank had said it was working on a project to finance French companies that wished to export goods to Iran despite US sanctions.
“It’s put on hold,” said Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance’s chief executive. “Conditions are not met (...) Sanctions are punitive for companies.”
Bpifrance was working on establishing euro-denominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers of French goods and services. By structuring the financing through vehicles without any US link, Bpifrance thought it was possible to avoid the extraterritorial reach of US legislation.
Dufourcq’s latest comments show how the scope of the sanctions is making trade with Iran increasingly difficult for European companies.
The United States is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers. Washington reimposed some of the financial sanctions from Aug. 6, while those affecting Iran’s petroleum sector will come into force from Nov. 4.
Even though several European countries have said they are seeking to protect their companies from the sanctions, several major companies including oil company Total, Air France-KLM and British Airways have announced they would suspend activities in Iran.
German officials have in recent weeks advocated for the creation of an independent system for cross-border payments to make trade with Iran possible even with the US sanctions.
European Union diplomats have said US President Donald Trump’s positions on trade and on Iran were fueling a rethink about the EU’s dependency on the US financial system.
However, European countries appear to be struggling to find or agree on effective options to tackle the issue.