I am very glad to be here today and to represent Belgrade Chamber of Commerce. I would like to transfer the greetings from our Chairman, Mr. Milan Jankovic. We are very proud to say that our Chairman is honorable President of Beijing International Chamber of Commerce. We strongly believe that the traditional friendship between our two countries will give us some new possibilities. Serbia is internationally recognized as a leader in a business reforms, as well as a proven investment location in the SEE region. It offers highly skilled and capable intellectuals’ and access to customs free markets representing significant share of the world market, about 15%.
Belgrade as a State capital is a centre of trade, tourism, industry, banking, education and science. Numerous multinationals, governmental institutions and organizations have their seat there. Eastern gate of Europe, the most developed city in SEE region invites you to explore the business possibilities.
Clear defined goals, economic and overall social development, and administrative burdens decreasing make our city even more attractive. Investors, foreign creditors are there, creating the city of the future, a strong and attractive metropolis in the Balkans and in Europe.
Chinese State owned companies are sharing their knowledge and experience in infrastructure projects together with local partners.
Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, as an inevitable factor in successful performance of our companies, has a special importance and role in defining and reaching those goals.
The efficient chamber of commerce system is one of the crucial provider of directions for economic development and creation of prosperous business environment. The chamber of commerce system in Serbia, after numerous challenges in one of the longest transition processes aimed at creation of a modern market-based economy.
In order to serve our clients, business community, by listening their needs and interests Belgrade Chamber of Commerce define a path to successful business cooperation proposing reforms and streamlining the process evolution. Being proactive and changing gradually are important preconditions in ensuring the trust of the members and in developing the base for constant innovation and improvement of the Chamber's activities.
Chamber of Commerce as a representative of business interests within a certain area is not and should not be autistic association that seeks self-sufficiency. Chambers can successfully accomplish their function only in cooperation and constructive cooperation with other institutions and organizations in the country and abroad. It is therefore vital to the success of the Chamber of organizing manner of its communication with third parties.
In this sense, a particularly significant highlight is need for cooperation with other chambers of commerce. The principle of inter-chamber cooperation is one of the fundamental principles of the chamber ways of doing business.
The principle of inter-chamber cooperation is achieved at two levels:
• cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce within one country and
• cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce of different countries (international inter-chamber cooperation).
The only successful model in Global Economic Development is international cooperation between institutions, including Chambers of Commerce. That is the reason why we are here gathered today. One of the crucial roles of Chamber of Commerce is to represent the specific interest of its member companies.
European Chambers of Commerces are the oldest and most branched in the world and some of the biggest in the world. For 400 years, Chambers promote the entrepreneurship interests, and today are widely engaged in the promotion of modern technologies and best business practices and providing various services.
Chamber of Commerce as a partner of the state in the interests of improving the economy is looking for the system solutions based on the views and needs of the economy. These solutions are primarily in the area of macro-economic, fiscal, monetary, credit and balance sphere. Currently Chambers are gaining importance and mediation in international economic relations, environmental compliance and branch development and regional policies.
The penetration of information technology in all areas of economic life, has brought a new dimension to the functioning and became a very important factor for the success of the Chamber system. Chamber of Commerce has databases on the register of supply and demand, list of products and companies. These databases are made available electronically to various users for use in marketing, and business development purposes. This facilitates the decision making, and gives adequate response to the pulses and changes in the environment. Information systems allow easy allocation of resources and capital mobility and internationalization of business.
Performing duties of corporate services, chambers provide a variety of businesses, up to date and detailed information. Chamber continues to monitor the work of companies collecting data on solvency, intellectual property that it has and the position of the company on the market. By effectively performing these functions, the Chamber acquires membership loyalty and increases its business reputation.
Chamber of Commerce plays an active role in updating knowledge and awareness of management competence. Chamber of Commerce plays an important role in this process by licensing staff. License renewal is subject to certain conditions in order to improve the quality of performance of the functions and occupations.
Chamber of Commerce has played an important role in European integration. Experts from the chamber assisted in the coordination of economic and development policy of the European Union to the European concept of global development. The Chambers were the one that gave most appropriate proposals for the restructuring of the economy in line with EU policies. The chambers are due to knowledge of local specificities delegated many successful development projects and worked on the development of competitive matches in the economy. Thanks to the Chambers member countries can use EU funds for the development of innovation and market revitalization of certain industries and resources aimed at stimulating the development of passive region.
The internationalization of business and the dominant influence on the success of business relationships the company imposed the need for a more flexible organization. Therefore, in some continental countries traditionally chamber system set up and mixed chamber in which membership is voluntary. Joint Association is non-profit and non-political, and allows the establishment of intergovernmental cooperation. There are mixed chamber facing the EU and mixed chamber with a focus on third countries. The objective function of the chamber is the utilization of some business opportunities related to the distribution channel, business relations or marketing. Benefits of this type of association are low cost market research, use of regional and local business benefits.
Trade promotion has always been crucial to the Chamber of Commerce.
In many countries there are national organizations for the promotion of trade. These
organizations have recently emerged and chambers of commerce can effectively help
in their efforts to promote exports. Chambers have different strengths and the most important is a global network of chambers of commerce, which consists of foreign markets that are accessible through cooperation within the network.
In addition, great strides that have been made in information technology
they are extremely practical for inter - ventricular connections that are maintained electronically, with quick, efficient and timely supply necessary information.
International business has now become an important activity. Chambers are almost always involved in the promotion of exports, although the real export efforts are implemented at the individual exporter.
Business cooperation in a global context, aims to converge business
from different countries. The collection, collation and scientific classification
companies, enterprises and professional organizations at the regional level are a daunting task, because such data in order to be useful must be constantly updated.
Thanks to modern improvements in information technology, it is possible to collect and cancel data on companies in the computer and can access whenever needed in the short term, with the agreement of the other agencies.
Almost all countries in the developed world have similar databases that are available at a specific price and many chambers are in a position to make a gain for its members through networking with other compatible systems. Receipt and dissemination of information on business opportunities is an essential part of the basic activities of Chamber of commerce. Preliminary research leads to more serious business proposals.
I could much more to say about the role of Chambers but I want to tell you about the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce and its specific services.
The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce (BCC) was established and started its activities in 1962. It is an interest-based, independent, business and professional association of enterprises registered on the territory of Belgrade. It offers a wide range of services to companies and entrepreneurs through its Associations and Centers that covers all fields of Industry.
The BCC has a wide network of partner organizations from the country and abroad. On the national level, we have close cooperation with practically all ministries, universities, government institutions, local self-governments, national and regional chambers of commerce, NGOs, media, etc.
It also closely cooperates with international chambers of commerce. Belgrade Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the OECD LEED Program Partner Club, being the only institution from Serbia that has access to wide network of experts and literature about local economic and employment development. We have signed more that 40 cooperation agreements with the Chambers and Organizations all around the world, including 7 in China.
The Belgrade Chamber of Economy offers to the businesses, with the aim of a more successful realization of their activities, a wide range of services:
· The Register of economic entities, companies and financial institutions
· Certificates – opinions
o Regarding the participation in public tenders for obtaining quotas (Associations)
o opinion on the feasibility of the employment program on the basis of the Republic Employment agency Loan (Associations)
o Business ethics certificates
· Providing assistance in development of SMEs and entrepreneurship, restructuring process and implementation of development plans;
· in preparation of privatization program for companies;
· in post-privatization activities;
· to small businesses, entrepreneurs and retailers in joint procurement, market access, etc. in order to improve competitiveness;
· in implementation of EU legislature and technical standards necessary for doing business with the EU countries;
· in unification of measures of fiscal, creditory, and monetary policies as well as of the complete economy related legislation so as to develop institutions of free market economy.
Providing information to companies:
· on available credit lines and conditions offered by the Guarantee Fund, Agency for Export Credit Insurance, leasing companies, SIEPA, etc.;
· on research and development programmers, innovations, and patents;
· on EU-funded programmes of support for SMEs and entrepreneurs
· on all business related issues (international business cooperation, application of law provisions, customs procedures, contractual issues, business environment, market research etc.).
At the end of my speech I would use this opportunity to invite all present Chambers and Institution representatives to keep in touch, exchange business information, project information, to serve as a business platform for our member companies, which is our most important roll, and help our member companies enter global market with success.
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