The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) organized its 23rd General Assembly meeting with the presence of its members and partners, and the U.S. Ambassador, Mrs. Yuri Kim. The Executive Director of AmCham Albania, Mr. Neritan Mullaj, thanked all participants for their cooperation and appreciated the strong role that the American Chamber is undertaking in influencing the business climate through the recommendations of its Investment Agenda and advocacy work of its experts.
“The Investment Agenda has engaged with the American Chamber since 2021, but through our experts during 2022, we had the opportunity to speak in working meetings with the Ministry of Finance to integrate our recommendations into their strategy for promoting investments and economic development,” said Mr. Mullaj.
The Executive Director informed the participants about the four pillars of the strategy that aim to influence the business climate, promote regional relations and increase U.S. investments, improve the quality of service to members, and strengthen the leadership position in the local market.
In his address, the President of AmCham Albania, Mr. Enio Jaço, recalled an important fact of the increase in U.S. investments from 80 million dollars to 220 million in the past two years, an extraordinary growth of 250%.
“This shows a change in reality, but we must acknowledge that we are still far below our potential. We must aim for billions in investments,” said Mr. Enio Jaço, mentioning factors that hinder this development – “The issue today is sustainability, how to make these investors stay for a long-term. To achieve this, we need a competitive business and investment climate. Factors such as ease of permits, level of corruption, whether investors have chances to participate in public procurement, whether there are incentives for competitive investments, are real issues that determine the investment climate. We need to offer an attractive environment to attract strategic investors,” said the President of the American Chamber of Commerce.
While speaking about the position of the Chamber in the local and regional market, Mr. Jaço expressed that “AmCham in Albania is not just a local chamber – we are part of a global network with over 100 American Chambers. In Europe alone, there are 46 American Chambers, representing 17,000 companies and 20 million workers.”
Mr. Jaço mentioned in his speech that AmCham was the first to hold a successful Smart City conference, which promoted cooperation between mayors, U.S. technology companies, and regional AmChams, leading to other successful events in Belgrade and Skopje.
The American Ambassador Yuri Kim greeted the Assembly and its participants, thanking the American Chamber of Commerce for its advocacy in improving the investment climate in Albania, pressing for standardization of tax policies, and promoting continued reforms against corruption. “If you seek recommendations, you need to listen to American companies, which have a role in providing alternatives so that it doesn’t remain just a political gesture,” expressed the American Ambassador at the AmCham Assembly.
“American companies can play an important role in the economy and offer employment alternatives. We look forward to working with the American Chamber for a better business partnership,” said Ambassador Yuri Kim.
In the second session of the Assembly, six committee chairs presented their work done during 2022 and the ambitious program for 2023. The focus of their presentations has been on lobbying issues, as well as capacity-building events and networking. Each of them had a “success story” to share, demonstrating support for the group’s work and serving not only the interests of its members but also the implementation of the Chamber’s core strategic issues.