AmCham will continue to promote the values of American business and to be at every table with a discussion of improving the business environment, investment conditions, employment and respect for the highest business standards
When we started the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia 20 years ago, we believed that the Serbian economy had a strong need for an association based on international business experience and knowledge of local circumstances that would be a partner of industry and government in creating a competitive business environment. Today, I can proudly say that with dedicated work we have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations ~ says AmCham Executive Director Vera Nikolić Dimić, with whom discussed the results of the Chamber’s work in the last two decades, and looked ahead.
“Today, AmCham Serbia is a business association that brings together more than 210 American, international and local companies that have invested over 14 billion euros in Serbia and that employ over 100,000 Serbians. Our mission is to improve the business climate through partnership with the government, promote best business practices and values, provide a platform for professional development of members and improve education according to the needs of the business community,” says our interviewee. “From the very beginning, we’ve believed deeply in systematic work on improving the business environment and in long-term effects. We set priorities in cooperation with our members, the Serbian government and other important participants in economic life.”
The Executive Director says that AmCham will continue to work ambitiously in four priority areas: the digital transformation, the agenda for an environmentally clean and energy efficient Serbia, improved health care systems and business integration through regional initiatives.
“We will strive to promote the values of American business and we will try to be at every table where we discuss improving the business environment, or other topics related to better conditions for investment, employment and respecting the highest business standards,” says Nikolić Dimić.
In which areas of expertise can AmCham contribute most to improving the business climate in Serbia?
I don’t think you will be surprised if I say that there is no area of business and management in which our member companies do not have expertise and experience. But I also believe that AmCham is the most recognizable and highest contributor in the areas we have identified as a priority and therefore formed 10 expert committees in our organization. These are the committees for economic and business law, the fight against the gray economy, the digital economy, health, energy, the environment, labor law, real estate, finance and taxes, and the facilitation of foreign trade.
What attracted the country’s leading investors to choose Am- Cham as their association?
In the first place, serious investors recognize our determination to tackle the most complex challenges, that we are ready to listen and talk, that we have the capacity to fight for the voice of our members, but above all to be a constructive partner focused on the essential, on proposals and solutions.
We like to say that we are an equally useful partner to industry and the state, we don’t hesitate to say what we think, but also to roll up our sleeves so that our solutions for improving the system do not just remain on paper
We like to say that as a partner we are equally useful to industry and the state, that we do not hesitate to say what we think, but we also roll up our sleeves so that our solutions for improving the system do not remain just a dead letter. At the same time, we support the efforts of other business associations whose goal is also to improve business conditions and encourage competition, and in this business there is room for all of us who believe that Serbia should remain a key investment destination in the years ahead.
How do you coordinate Am- Cham’s goals with other actors – both American and Serbian?
One principle is the key: partnership! We talk to all participants in business life, and decision makers in various fields. We are a credible partner and all of them also want to meet at the table where the Serbian economy, finances, regulations, and the like are discussed. As far as specific priority areas are concerned, every year we conduct the now traditional “As Time Goes By” survey on the business climate and investor confidence, and based on the findings we determine our direction for the next period.
This research, and there have been nine surveys so far, gives an overview of the perception of AmCham’s membership about the business environment in Serbia and their current business and plans for next year. The research provides a complete X-ray of the Serbian economy, including the attitudes of micro, small and medium enterprises.
The latest research at the end of last year showed that regardless of the challenges of the pandemic, our members see long-term improvement of the business climate in institutional reforms. Improving the rule of law, the efficiency of the judiciary and the fight against corruption are still cited as indispensable conditions for the sustainable improvement of the business climate.
Which of AmCham’s activities and services would you single out as the most important for both the membership and the wider community?
AmCham has profiled its activities in three important areas: improving the business environment, networking and promotion, and professional development. Our mission is to support companies of all sizes and from all sectors in creating a dynamic economy that achieves growth and offers our people opportunities for better standards and new jobs. Our combination of field experience and the top expertise of our member lawyers enables our committees to draft opinions and propose processes, rules and regulations to improve the business environment. They are in touch with key decision makers and policy makers and law enforcement agencies, but also in regular communication with the media.
At the same time, our business networking and promotion platform provides a wide range of opportunities to establish business contacts and further activities to promote company brands, from high-level meetings to one-on-one meetings and networking. All our activities have in common that they enable direct contact with current and future users or clients.
Our need is to support business growth, and the best way to do that is to provide members with opportunities for professional development and thus enable our members’ most talented staff to realize their full leadership potential. In cooperation with our member companies, especially through the program AmChamps or Women in IT, as well as the HR Forum, which brings together the most professional experts in human resource management in Serbia, we offer programs tailored to the needs of professional development and education.
We are proud that AmCham has grown into a platform for business networking, learning and development. We will continue to work dedicatedly and ambitiously on all these tasks in the decades ahead
In the first place, serious investors recognize our determination to tackle the most complex challenges, and our capacity to fight for the voice of our members in a constructive way
AmCham has profiled its activities in three important areas: improving the business environment, networking and promotion, and professional development