Both the Ukrainian and Czech markets have huge potential that the Chamber wants to make far better use of. The president of the Netherlands-Czech Chamber of Commerce (NCCC), already established in the Czech Republic, was the initiator of the Chamber. He worked on creating the new Chamber together with Ukrainian and Czech representatives for several weeks to ensure it could, as quickly as possible, get involved in the support for Czech-Ukrainian activities both now and after the war is over. Ukrainian and Czech companies deserve such an organisation and representation, and UKRCHAM has taken its place among other important chambers of commerce in the Czech Republic. The current annual volume of mutual trade between the Czech Republic and Ukraine is over CZK 70 billion and it can be assumed that this figure will grow manyfold in the coming years.
In the case of Ukrainian companies, we can anticipate that after the end of the conflict they will focus much more strongly on western markets, including the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. Ukraine itself will need companies willing to engage in post-war reconstruction efforts. There is space for cooperation in a whole series of sectors such as industry, agriculture and food, and engineering. The Czech Republic currently imports mainly raw materials like iron ore and wood, while it exports back primarily cars, industrial equipment, electronics and cosmetics.
“The Chamber wants to be a contact point between the Ukrainian business community in the Czech Republic and the common Ukrainian-Czech business interests in the European environment. We connect people and companies, opening up new opportunities for them, and making it easier for them to work together as regards the authorities and the political representation,” explains Pavel Iványi, NCCC president, who initiated the establishment of the Ukrainian-Czech Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber already has 10 members, with others currently negotiating entry. The members include Agromino, RAVAK, LitFin Capital, Peterka Partners, BNG, EY, ProFid and the ING financial group. Dozens of other companies are in the process of joining,” says NCCC director Bastiaan Brouns who, together with the Ukrainian embassy, is contacting potential members. “Our primary task will be consultation and support based on our thirty years of experience with NCCC,” he adds.
One of the founding members is BNG Ukraine s.r.o., already operating in the Ukrainian market last year before the start of the war. “It is therefore only logical that we were also active in establishing the Ukrainian-Czech Chamber of Commerce. We are honoured to be a founding member and thus participate in building and strengthening mutual business relations. We see this as an opportunity for our business partners in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as for manufacturers and business entities in Ukraine,” explains Jaromír Koudelík, executive at BNG Ukraine.
The establishment of the Chamber is supported by the Embassy of Ukraine, which will be represented in the board of directors of the Chamber.
“The establishment of the Ukrainian-Czech Chamber of Commerce is a step towards the future of Ukrainian-Czech relations. Ukraine, heroically resisting the Russian aggression, is currently going through a very difficult period. After its victory it will need extensive support from its friends to renew and build its infrastructure. We are counting on the active participation of Czech businesses in this process, and it is precisely the Chamber that, in my opinion, will play a crucial role in this regard”, says Ukrainian Ambassador to the CR Jevhen Perebyjnis.
“Apart from the business dimension, the situation is that in Ukraine they are also fighting for our freedom and so we have to cooperate. Ukraine belongs in the EU and NATO because we will be stronger with them. I believe that the Chamber will contribute to this process,” says newly elected UKRCHAM president Petr Krogman, the owner of the Czech-Ukrainian agriculture company Agromino.
Seated from left to right: Petr Krogman, Maroš Kravec, UKRCHAM president and vice-president.
Standing from left to right: Oles Shokalo, Petr Toman, Jaromír Koudelik, Monika Šimůnková Hošková, Pavel Iványi, Vladimíra Pajerová, Wiegert Smallegange, H.E. Jevhen Perebyjnis, Dušan Meizr.