The French-Czech Chamber of Commerce is a member of an international network of 126 French Chambers of Commerce in ninety-six countries and has been an independent, self-financing organisation for twenty-five years. It represents a business community of more than 280 member companies in the Czech Republic which employ over 78,000 people and have a turnover of over 16bn CZK.
Mr. Macko, could you please briefly introduce the activities of the French--Czech Chamber of Commerce? Is it involved in any specific projects in the Moravian-Silesian Region?
The chamber focuses on several key areas which include supporting members’ businesses and creating new business opportunities, informing and raising the profile of members both within the community and externally, and bringing together company representatives through professional clubs and other networking opportunities.
One of the chamber’s key roles is supporting the entry of French companies into the Czech market, whether through investment, acquisition or the export of goods and services.
These activities are carried out under the ‘LeBooster’ brand and include market studies and analysis, benchmarking, recruitment, branch establishment and accounting and tax administration. The chamber helps an average of sixty companies a year.
Currently, dozens of companies operate in the Moravian-Silesian Region, such as Veolia in the energy sector; battery manufacturer Saft; Manutan, which produces equipment for industrial companies; and FEVE, which specialises in industrial metallurgy.
In which areas are the trade relations between the Czech Republic and France most developed and intense? And what sectors are the most promising in the near future?
France is our largest trading partner among countries with which the Czech Republic does not share a border.
Mutual trade mainly concerns automobiles, electrical and electronic equipment and, in the case of French exports, mainly pharmaceutical and chemical products. For the Czech Republic, France is the fourth largest customer and in recent years the sixth largest supplier. For France, however, the Czech Republic is only twentieth on France’s consumer list and thirteenth on the supplier list.
In terms of investment, excluding countries with attractive tax regimes, France remains the third largest investor, with a FDI volume of €10.6bn in 2019, according to the Czech National Bank. Prospective and growing sectors of Czech-French trade are defence, energy, IT, video games and everything related to Industry 4.0.
Mr Macko, thank you for the interview.