By Kester Kenn Klomegah

Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) is preparing to hold its grand congress this year, as stipulated in its official charter, to sum up the results of what has been done over the past period, and then to take plans for the next five years as well as elect the governing bodies. In accordance with the CCI charter, the Chamber holds regular congress every five years.

As an association of entrepreneurs, it not only unites them and represents their interests, but also provides services, including on behalf of the state, such as issuing certificates of origin of goods, confirming the goods that are manufactured on Russian territory. The CCI has the primary task to develop a system that could be as close to entrepreneurs as possible.

“We are now represented in more than 330 cities and municipalities in Russia, this is an opportunity to get as close to businesses as possible. We continue to work on this system and give the entrepreneurs an opportunity to get the services as close as possible and, accordingly, to use all the opportunities that chambers of commerce and industry can provide,” Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Sergei Katyrin said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Law-making activity is the second highly important aspect for entrepreneurs. According to reports, there are 22 committees and 13 councils. These are public associations that involve entrepreneurs, administrators and researchers – those that work themselves and help work in the sphere of law-making. Each year, they help pass over 100 bills and provide findings on about 70 bills. There are also draft about 15 of its own bills and duly submit them to the Government and the State Duma.

“We have tried to organize this systemic work so as to collect information and requests from entrepreneurs all over the country. Consequently, one of our main tasks aimed to engage the entire country’s business in this law-making and regulatory work through a system of chambers and our local subsidiaries and offices,” Katyrin said.

The CCI has focused on the development of our international ties. It has successfully established 76 operational business councils with 76 countries. They involve representatives of the Russian business community and those from the relevant state. They compile materials, including those for inter-governmental commissions. They work on specific projects that they support and on problems arising in economic ties with any specific country. This concerns customs regulations, phytosanitary control and many other questions.

“Our representatives are working in 41 countries, 10 of which are regional offices that are part of our regular operation, and the rest are our representatives emeritus who, on our behalf, protect, by proxy, our interests in a particular country. This is one of our major areas of operation as well,” according to Katyrin.

CCI works closely with the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Chambers Federation, and the Euro-Chambers. It has an advisory board of Heads of Chambers of the CIS countries and the Eurasian Union. It also represents Russia’s interests in the SCO and BRICS Business Councils. This year we chaired them, just like all our departments. Our colleagues told us it was a success, but, unfortunately, we had to do this in digital format.

“We do a lot to help the regions bring in investment and support investment projects in the regions, primarily, business projects. We have broken it down into several areas of focus. First of all, we have organized and hold regular presentations of the regions at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Almost half of our regions took part in these presentations. We invite all diplomatic missions that have trade missions, foundations, banks, and Russian and foreign companies and we present a region, while the region provides an outline of its investment projects. We also pick investment projects and present them to the industries that may be interested. We run presentations on agricultural projects, industry, and so on,” Katyrin further explained.

The CCI does regularly collect and monitor feedback. It organizes a Business Barometer – an anonymous poll of entrepreneurs. It organizes four stages of the Business Barometer of the country and received feedback from entrepreneurs on the adopted measures.

Generally, the Business Barometer is used as tool for finding out, for instance the attitude of entrepreneurs to corruption, reveal the most corrupt areas and what they are all about, it further investigates potential investment areas and so forth. In each case, we send this information to the governors, State Duma deputies and the Government. The results are forwarded to the relevant ministries, departments and the State Duma.