The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest crisis encountered since the EU project began. It is of course first and foremost a public health emergency, but the impact will reverberate across the continent’s economy and society for many years to come.

Chambers of Commerce & Industry have never been closer to their business members than during this unprecedented downturn. That close relationship with millions of businesses across Europe will also be crucial during the recovery process over the months and years to come.

EUROCHAMBRES is enabling synergy across the Chamber network in their resolute efforts to support the business community. We are in close contact with the EU institutions to provide input on the impact of the crisis and to contribute to a coordinated, coherent economic recovery effort.

EUROCHAMBRES actions

EUROCHAMBRES is closely following the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis. It keeps national Chambers, and therefore businesses, informed of what the EU institutions are doing to tackle this crisis, but also, in the opposite direction, it provides input from the national level to the EU Institutions on what businesses demand in response to the crisis.

Chamber network actions

The network of Chambers of Commerce around Europe has been very active in responding to the threats that the covid-19 pandemic is posing to the economy. They are in constant contact with companies, with their respective governments and with the EU institutions to find solutions in order to tackle the disruptive effects of this crisis on business, and especially on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Services provided for members

WKO installed a telephone and an e-mail hotline as well as a homepage: www.wko.at/corona Information is available in several languages. Topics are

  • Information on restrictions and FAQs – Answers to the most common questions
  • Information on aid measures for companies including Corona short-time work, hardship funds, corona funds, tax deferrals, guarantees, loans etc.
  • Protective masks ordering and initiatives to produce
  • Special information for certain industries and affected countries
  • Mailing services for news and webinars for special target groups

Lobbying for members

WKÖ has created an emergency task force that coordinates the support for companies and is in close contact with the government.

WKO as a part of the Austrian Social partners have negotiated a dedicated Corona short-term working model. It was initially limited to three months and now up to six months.

WKO measures for financial relief

WKO decided to suspend the basic membership fee (basic levy) for this year until further notice. Members can also apply for a deferral or an instalment payment of chamber levies 1 and 2.

Tourism

In Austria WKO negotiated an additional restaurant package. It includes tax and bureaucratic relief to support the catering industry and stimulate consumption. This summer there will be also extensive testing in tourist businesses so that both guests and employees are safe.

In the face of the biggest health crisis and economic downturn in recent decades, the Belgian Chambers of Commerce do everything possible to help companies get through the crisis by providing them information on health guidelines and government support measures. Each chamber has a dedicated corona hotline.

Chambers measure the impact of the corona crisis through weekly business surveys and they are  working together with the government on an exit strategy and recovery plan.

Chambers help companies continue their activities as far as possible, with a specific focus on digital tools. Special attention is paid to the CONNECTS platform that all Belgian chambers use to assist  companies with partner search and international business development.

More information is available at https://belgianchambers.be/en/covid-19-de-kamers-staan-aan-uw-kant/

In reaction to the COVID19 pandemic, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) takes respective measures and actions for informing adequately the business circles.

BCCI counts on the constant dialogue with the Government since health is crucial but life of businesses is very important and the economy should not stop. BCCI has measured the impact of the corona crisis through 2 surveys and further to the above it has elaborated more than 25 specific measures to tackle the negative results from COVID-19 which were sent to the Bulgarian authorities.

BCCI advises member companies how to manage every day work in quarantine as employers and how to instruct employees, including the implementation of flexible working time and distant work as a precaution.

BCCI provides electronic services to companies – for issuing certificates of origin, force majeure certificates, ATA carnets, certificates from the Trade register, registration etc., demand/supply inquiries, consultations, translation of documents etc.

BCCI is providing regular information for companies regarding the recommendations of WHO, Ministry of Health, Ministry of labour and social affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bulgaria in BCCI`s info channels.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 in Croatia, neighbouring countries and worldwide, as well as the impact of the new situation on the domestic economy, Croatian Chamber of Economy, through a separate section of the web site  (https://www.hgk.hr/korona)  regularly informs entrepreneurs about the development of the situation and the details that affect their business.

General information and daily recommendations for the preservation of health, as well as sector-specific guidance focused on the problems faced by particular industries are being published on the web site and communicated to the members.

A special e-mail address for coronavirus inquiries was opened (covid@hgk.hr), and a special procedure was established by the CCE Contact Centre to resolve queries from member companies (member line – CCE – competent authority – member).

CCE is involved in drafting measures to assist the economy to mitigate the consequences of the situation, especially aimed at productive and export-oriented sectors of the economy and preserving liquidity.

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been close to its members from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and has assisted the efforts for facing the crisis through the provision of constant information and clarifications with regard to the measures and schemes that have been announced, the submission of its views for the greatest possible support of businesses and their employees during these difficult times we are going through but also the restart of the economy.

An abundance of information has been posted on our website at https://ccci.org.cy/covid-19/. We are placing particular emphasis now on what needs to be done to revitalize the economy once the restrictions start to be gradually lifted. We are in constant touch with the relevant Ministers, while the President of our President will participate in a meeting of the social partners with the President of the Republic with the specific purpose of examining ways of how to best restart the economy for the benefit of all.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce,

  • Makes proposals for compensatory measures to the government and negotiates with the government and politicians.
  • Responds, free of charge, in partnership with partner law firms, to specific questions from entrepreneurs, not just its members, in connection with a pandemic.
  • Is in constant contact with the members who are informed daily via direct mailing about major news and polled on weekly basis regarding the situation.
  • Coordinates requirements and ideas with its regional and professional network.
  • Issues force majeure certificates.
  • Launched an application for the use of temporary workers and free business capacity at worklinks.com.
  • Organized a platform to ensure the supply of protective, medical and sanitary equipment needed for entrepreneurs and their employees komora.cz/ochranne-pomucky/.
  • Approached the professional chambers of attorneys, tax advisors, accountants and auditors with a request for cooperation and the provision of services and for the use of service “PODEJTO ZA ME” at reduced price or for free. The service enables the processing of official formalities through data box holders.
  • Publishes model examples of corporate losses linked to the crisis.
  • Develops manuals and guidance on how to apply for compensatory measures and provides with application forms.
  • In cooperation with Czech Credit Bureau – Monitoring Cribis enables monitoring of the economic situation of customers and business partners free of charge for 2 months.
  • Multiplied highly its presence in media and together with partners, it created an extensive advertising campaign to save entrepreneurs.

ECCI has created a steady stream of reliable information for entrepreneurs to make sense of the situation globally and locally. Weekly newsletters are additionally translated to English and Russian to make up for the information deficit created by the fast-evolving situation. ECCI is in close contact with the government to work out specific support measures for businesses. These include loan guarantees, capital loans, compensation for reduced wages, and other means including encouragement for not to cut public sector investments and expenditure cuts as it would further cool the economy.

A special website is set up to allow quick access for relevant information on measures, press releases, how-to’s, and other relevant information:
https://www.koda.ee/et/tooriistad/koroonaviiruse-info-ettevotjale.

Weekly free webinars were introduced to give businesses a chance to ask relevant questions from the specific agencies responsible for creating and distributing support measures. Also, free consultations are offered to ECCI members on legal matters, foreign trade and customs, export, and European Union topics.

During Covid-19 crisis Finland Chamber of Commerce as a national Chamber and 19 regional Chambers are working closely together in order to help member companies in their challenges. Co-operation with regional chambers has converged during the crisis and we are maintaining even closer contact with chambers and offering our support.

Chambers are collecting practical information from companies by making regular market studies and and publish them in the media. Chambers are also making proposals for Finnish Government how to help companies over bad times.

Finland Chamber of Commerce actively participates in the social discussions in multiple channels (incl. media, internal and external communications to stakeholders). We publish proposals and solutions and comment the topic through national channels.

During the crisis, we have opened new communications channels so that we can support companies and bring our views into the social debate. For example, we opened a website where companies will find corona information for their use. We update the page continually.

Through our international Finncham network and Chamber partners we are also gathering information from other markets. EUROCHAMBRES is also sharing useful information among European Chambers. Furthermore, Chambers are hosting webinars and updating special Covid-19 website concerning practical information.

The French network of CCIs has been appointed by the Government as the first contact point for companies during the coronavirus outbreak. Since mid-March, 860,000 businesses have been helped by CCI’s support units.

  • CCIs are providing businesses with relevant information on national measures and support them to restart their activities. In May, CCI France launched a national communication campaign to support local commerce. Moreover, CCIs have set up specific units to provide psychological assistance to entrepreneurs in distress.
  • The network of CCIs is a key partner for public authorities. Due to their proximity to territories and entrepreneurs, CCIs are able to provide the government with the most recent and accurate data on the impact of the crisis on businesses and economic sectors. As a member of the taskforce set up by the French Government, CCI France helps the government to define its measures to support and relaunch the economy, and to continuously adjust them in order to take into account local specifics. In addition, CCI France put in place a reflection group for the economic relaunch, which published a recovery plan with measures to be taken from May to December 2020. Sectorial propositions for the restart of activities in France have also been published as of April, in the sectors of non-food retail and construction, industry, tourism and apprenticeship.  

More information is available at https://www.cci.fr/coronavirus-entreprise

The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry has taken threefold action in the light of the corona crisis: first, to provide relevant information to member Chambers and businesses, second to gather data and concrete feedback from businesses, and third, to continuously liaise with decision-makers at national and European level.

DIHK has launched a series of dedicated channels to keep its member Chambers and businesses informed about the latest developments at federal and at EU level. This includes a series of public webinars on the situation in different countries provided by the network of German Chambers Abroad. DIHK conducted several flash polls that highlighted the impact of the pandemic on businesses in Germany. Moreover, DIHK has made key recommendations to the Federal Government on how to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, and thereby achieved to close a serious support gap for companies, for instance.

More information on DIHK activities can be found here, including links to activities of the 79 local Chambers.

The UHCCI has advocated to the Greek Government for five immediate measures needed to support the economy in the current situation

  1. The extension of the First House Protection Act until the end of the year. The process of auction cannot be initiated in times of covid-19 crisis in a country which has experienced an economic crisis in the previous years.
  2. The rate of return of withholding taxes from paid work and pensions and payments from business-related activities from two to six months in order to enhance the income and the businesses and employees’ liquidity, during this critical situation.
  3. The sealing checks postponement for a period of at least two months without however removing all the legal obligations of issuers that are currently into force.
  4. The extension of the reimbursement of E.F.Κ.A insurance contributions for 3 months in order to support the businesses that are already affected by the effects of the pandemic.
  5. The direct reduction of ENFIA for Private Law Enterprises which was not included in last year’s reduction and referred only to natural persons.  

The Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) was requested by the Prime Minister to elaborate a proposal for support measures for the companies. The HCCI set up six sectoral working groups to elaborate support measures plans. Representatives of the HCCI are also members of the Emergency Action Group for Essential Businesses and of the Research Action Group set up by the Hungarian government.

The HCCI conducted a survey among its members to measure the losses suffered by the enterprises on sectorial basis and companies were also requested to give concrete suggestions how to eliminate the negative effects of the epidemic. Several thousands of companies participated in the survey. The HCCI worked out proposals for an economic action plan and sent them to the government. Several proposals of the HCCI were incorporated into the new economy and job protection measures of the Hungarian government. President Parragh often takes part in online consultations and meetings with high government representatives.

The HCCI continuously informs enterprises about support measures, cross-border information and chamber activities in newsletters and on its website: www.mkik.hu. You can find valuable information in English also on the website of the Institute for Economic and Enterprise Research operated by the HCCI: gvi.hu/monthly-bulletin-of-economic-trends.

Chambers Ireland continues to inform and support our network of chambers as new information emerges on COVID-19.

We have launched a series of nationwide businesses impact surveys on a regular basis in which all parts of the country are represented in the responses. The results inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis. The results of these surveys can be found here.

Additionally, our team is continuing to closely engage with Government officials from a range of Departments demonstrating the concerns of our members. We have frequent contact with our dedicated policy forums and Chief Executives in which we discuss and propose economic supports, strategic actions and recommendations to be made to central Government.

Chambers Ireland continues to urge sincere engagement by State bodies to support businesses to stay afloat during these unprecedented times. We have a dedicated section of our website for members to consult for all State supports, information, updates, survey responses, and press releases.

Since the beginning of the emergency, Italian Chambers of Commerce have been putting in place actions at different level under the coordination of a Task Force coordinated by Unioncamere  1) as a first priority, seamless provision of public services (most of them already digitalized). Chambers also provide companies, upon request, with force majeure certificates to comply with international contracts. 2) financial intervention of Chambers to facilitate SMEs’ access to credit (in particular on lending rates). 3) creation of RipartireImpresa, a web portal, updated on a daily basis, disseminating useful information for companies and providing an hotline (telephone and mail) ready to respond to SMEs requests. 4) carrying out studies on the impact of coronavirus on the national/local economy 5) creation of an observatory on border traffic restrictions in Europe in Italian, English and German. 6) matchmaking between demand and offer of medical supplies and personnel to face the emergency.

The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the LCCI) is Latvia’s largest business association. It is actively working to provide support to businesses and their employees on the consequences of the current COVID-19 situation.

To understand the current situation the LCCI consults with its members and takes into consideration the recommendations of entrepreneurs. It is also working closely with the government, to provide information and possible solutions on problem situations caused by COVID-19 for LCCI members.

The LCCI continues to raise the competitiveness and awareness of members through webinars and online briefings and discussions.

It also gives a consultation to members about state support mechanisms to overcome COVID-19 crisis which can be obtained by writing to the LCCI consultation email or calling the consultation line.

The LCCI also issues Force Majeure Certificates.

For more, visit the website of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where information is regularly updated – https://www.chamber.lv/en/business/1/news

The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce has implemented a series of support measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Helpline for businesses
    Via the House of Entrepreneurship, a Hotline was set up to respond to the concerns of businesses and to provide them with information in real time (+352/42 39 39-445, covid19@houseofentrepreneurship.lu).
  • Support via the #ReAct project
    The House of Entrepreneurship has also launched the #ReAct project to support entrepreneurs who are looking for active listening and strategic support in managing the crisis period and in relaunching their activity (+352/ 42 39 39-850, support@houseofentrepreneurship.lu).
  • The COVID-19 Newsletter and website
    With the special COVID-19 Newsletter, the Chamber of Commerce provides its members with practical information related to the development of the COVID-19 crisis and the assistance and support measures implemented. On the cc.lu website, Luxembourg businesses have a source for reliable up-to-date information. A new COVID-19 website was launched mid-April.
  • The JobSwitch platform
    Together with four partners, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce recently launched the JobSwitch platform, a tool specially designed to facilitate and accelerate the loan of staff between businesses.
  • Bank guarantee for businesses in financial difficulty
    A measure designed to help businesses cope with financial difficulties, and liquidity problems in particular, is the setting up of a specific guarantee that the Chamber of Commerce offers via its ‘Mutualité de Cautionnement’ to businesses in need of a line of credit or a bank loan.
  • Liaising with the Government
    The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is tirelessly working with the Government and relevant authorities in order to develop national aid packages for businesses.

The Malta Chamber has played an instrumental role, through public advocacy and direct negotiations with Government, to ensure a stimulus financial package that reflects the need of the Maltese economy and local companies during this time of crisis. The main priority was to follow health guidelines issued by public authorities, but also to safeguard jobs, and ensure that once the crisis is over, companies are well positioned to start over.

The Chamber has conducted regular surveys among its members to understand the impact on their operations, and to draw up economic forecasts on the national gross domestic product impact as well as unemployment. This enabled the Chamber to formulate national and sector specific recommendations to mitigate the negative impact of the crisis.

Being a public service provider in the Netherlands, KVK assists companies by providing the most actual information about COVID-19 government measures, by advising them how to find the most important government measures for their situation (f.e. by guiding them through the measure checker, an interactive pdf by KVK) and by bringing them in contact with the right organizations.

As from May the information and advice KVK provides started to focus on the release measures, the various business sector protocols and new business models and strategies for the post corona and 1,5 meter economy.

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK NL) is the first point of contact for entrepreneurs, working together with various public and private partners (business organisations). The KVK Corona loket contains all relevant information for entrepreneurs (f.e. FAQ and government support measures). A special hotline (0800-2117) is open all day. Every day our business advisors are providing actual and relevant content, answering questions and giving advice by telephone. A special Corona Chatbot is supporting the information task. The number of calls amounts to 50.000. The number of online visits amounts to 2,7 million (May 2020). KVK informs 200.000 entrepreneurs and 600 stakeholders directly by special Corona newsletters and updates.

For foreign entrepreneurs, KVK is managing (and works with partners on) the Single Digital Gateway portal in the Netherlands: business.gov.nl. The information on COVID-19 is derived from the KVK website and has been put in English. KVK also participates in the Enterprise Europe Network with a team of 12 advisors supporting the platform Care and Industry against Corona.

KVK regularly publishes polls about COVID-19 in relation to entrepreneurs.

    Information provided by the Polish authorities on covid-19 for entrepreneurs can be found at this website. Special recommendations by the Polish Chamber of Commerce for entrepreneurs can be found at this link.

    Polish Chamber of Commerce created a special #SolidarnizBiznesem campaign which aims to propose effective and simple solutions for business, especially for SMEs during the pandemic. More information: https://kig.pl/nie-pozwole-ci-sie-zamknac/

    PCC has also has created a special newsletter entitled “International Courier” with the latest news about pandemic in other countries of the world.

    Polish business organizations of entrepreneurs, including Polish Chamber of Commerce, are calling for the conclusion of the social pact “2020 as the Year of Regulatory Peace”, which in a difficult period will allow companies to reduce the already high sense of uncertainty and give them a chance to maintain existing employment.

    The Polish Chamber of Commerce urged the government to take action to guarantee a package of measures for employers that protects jobs against their permanent liquidation by making possible using eco-economic downtime and reduced working time more flexible while subsidizing employees’ salaries and social security allowances.

    The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce is working closely with the Government to ensure that businesses have the most up-to-date information and resources to face COVID – 19 impact.

    To promote swift action and clear guidance on how to access public funds and other assistance programs, a Corona Desk, “Gabinete de Apoio às Empresas COVID-19”, was set up in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy. The Corona Desk, with a dedicated website, consists of a hotline – telephone and specific email address – to answer target questions.

    Online surveys, which serves as a barometer of pandemic impact on business and the effectiveness of government support measures, are conducted every two weeks. Results and major concerns of businesses are transmitted to the Portuguese Government.

    The Chamber rolled out a program of digital events such as webinars to guide companies to access to government support schemes or to successfully promote their business – at national and international level – during and after COVID – 19 pandemic.

    Since March 11, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR) has been actively involved in the inter-institutional working group, set up at the request of the President of Romania, H.E. Mr. Klaus Iohannis. Within this framework, CCIR is constantly proposing concrete measures to minimize the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Romanian business community.

    Also, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania together with its members – the County Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) – have conducted comprehensive consultations of the business environment at national level, aiming to identify their major concerns and expectations from the Romanian authorities during this unfortunate crisis. Therefore, on March 18, CCIR published a list of 37 proposals related to the economic, fiscal and monetary policies aiming to diminish the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the Romanian business environment. A part of these proposals has been included in the economic, fiscal and social protection measures adopted through the emergency ordinances issued by the Romanian Government.

    On May 4, CCIR published a list of proposals to be implemented in the economic, financial, investment, labor market and agriculture sectors, having the ultimate goal to restart the national economy. These proposals have been drafted together with CCCI and forwarded to the Romanian authorities.

    For further information, please visit CCIR’s website.

    The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia is closely monitoring the spread of the corona virus COVID-19 and the growing impact on the Slovenian economy. The Chamber called on the government for measures to be taken for companies – especially regarding the reduction of potential job losses (home office, short-time labour) and financial support to temporarily overcome liquidity problems. 

    The CCIS stands in close contact with the government in drafting measures to assist the economy to minimise the consequences of the situation.  

    To monitor the current situation in the filed from time to time special questionnaires are sent out and answers are evaluated to suggest measures to be taken by the Government or Chamber’s departments. 

    The Chamber opened a new webpage with useful links. Furthermore, a FAQ as well as business advice with ongoing updates are available in the webpage. 

    The Spanish Chamber network is closer than ever next to the Spanish productive fabric to face the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The efforts of the Spanish chamber’s network  are focused on the strengthening the information channels for SMEs, maintaining the necessary services for companies to maintain their export activity, and offering online training courses.

    The priority is to limit as far as possible the effects of the crisis on companies and ensure their future viability while ensuring the protection of maximum number of jobs.

    To this aim, the Spain Chamber of Commerce has a dedicated website here you can:

    • Learn about the information from the Spanish Chamber regarding the coronavirus outbreak
    • Access to a daily newsletter on COVID-19 and the Alarm State
    • Access to a post with relevant information about COVID-19 and the Alarm State
    • Access to information on National, European and international measures adopted as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak  
    • Learn about the local chambers of commerce activities connected to COVID-19

    Visit the Spain Chamber of Commerce  dedicated website on COVID-19 here.

    The activities taken by the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the pandemic period:

    • Providing a general information on the corona crisis which pools all available and relevant data (FAQs for businesses, advice on whom to contact, news, etc.);
    • GCCI general mailbox info@gcci.ge and dedicated hotline allows companies to submit their questions directly to us where a GCCI stuff is responding;
    • The tax committee of GCCI prepared a stimulus package which includes the tax delay, suspension of pension contributions and remaining as much possible money in state economy;
    • A special questionnaire was designed in order to research the difficulties and retardations the companies face; (the survey will be permanent during the crisis);
    • Due to the worldwide situation the Chamber is helping businesses with problems they face abroad;
    • Together with GIAC and UNDP, special framework of alternative dispute resolution process was designed.
    • The Chamber continues issuing the Certificates of Origin and ATA Carnets, though in a special regime.

    In line with the outbreak of the COVID 19 virus and the current situation Chamber of Economy of Montenegro is acting as responsible and reliable partner to the economy and Government.
    Chamber of Economy of Montenegro (CEM) enables faster, simpler and more efficient flow of relevant information as well as a response to emerging business problems that occurred.

    We are in constant contact with business community, Government, line ministries and relevant institutions.

    Communication with business community is direct (by phone, questionnaires and e-mail). Most of questions are related with interpretation of measures imposed by Government and possibilities for support (mostly SME, tourism, agriculture, catering…).

    Most important information we share also through a separate section of our website.

    CCI Russia undertakes various measures to support business during the crisis caused by spread of COVID-19.

    A hot line for entrepreneurs is organised by CCI RF in order to explain aspects related to force majeure circumstances, government measures on tax legislation, employment and labour relations, financing and subsidiaries, state and municipal property rent.

    CCI Russia as well as local CCIs is in charge of issuing of force majeure certificates.

    A wide range of webinars, anti-crisis live broadcasts is constantly held by leading experts from government bodies and chamber community.

    In order to monitor the level of crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic CCI RF launched the online opinion poll which is called “Business Barometer of the Country”. The results will be used while implementing new measures of business support.

    The updated information on CCI RF activity during the crisis can be found via the following link: https://tpprf.ru/en/

    The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia has set up a Chamber Task Force for providing all necessary corona related information to the member. CCIS has established an Info Service for the all economic operators in Serbia, which can be found in the front page of our website www.pks.rs

    We invited all economic operators in Serbia, to address us with issues regarding transportation, supply of raw materials, supply, export and import, participation in trade fairs, to contact CCIS to inform and help them to adjust business in accordance with current measures. CCIS goal is to support our members and to reduce the consequences for businesses, as well as the Serbian economy, through joint solutions.

    CCIS works in close cooperation with Serbian Government, as part of Economic Crises Response Time. CCIS has vastly contributed to the state economic measures for mitigating the negative effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the estimated effect in the amount of RSD 608.3 billion (5,178 billion EUR).

    Switzerland’s regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry (contacts available at www.sihk.ch) have set up special websites, hotlines and other initiatives to keep businesses informed about federal and cantonal governments actions to tackle the economic effects of the Corona crisis. As interest groups, they have represented their members in negotiations with the individual cantonal governments. Furthermore, Chambers in areas less affected by the Corona pandemic have called on the governments to allow businesses which are able to comply with physical distance regulations to remain open. Some have, together with German and Austrian Chambers, also requested a fast re-opening of borders to allow international employees to go back to work again. Some Chambers are also engaged in co-financing research initiatives to fight the Corona virus and to improve data on immunity prevalence within the population.

    To get an overview of some Chambers’ initiatives, please go to:

    Zürcher Handelskammer
    Industrie- und Handelskammer Zentralschweiz
    Handelskammer beider Basel
    Chambre Vaudoise du Commerce et de l’Industrie
    Chambre de commerce, d’industrie et des services de Genève
    Industrie- und Handelskammer St.Gallen-Appenzell
    Aargauische Industrie- und Handelskammer
    Camera di Commercio Cantone Ticino

    • Membership fees of Chambers postponed until October 2020.
    • Local Chambers will be part of the Pandemic Councils to be established in each city
    • With the proposal of TOBB, the government postponed income taxes, VAT and social security premium payments in the most affected sectors for 6 months.
    • The Guarantee capacity of the Credit Guarantee Fund, of which TOBB is the founding partner, doubled.
    • Units to communicate consumer complaints are established in the local Chambers regarding unfair price increases in health, food and cleaning materials and sanitizers.
    • Regular disinfection and control processes are carried out at the Customs Gates (Land border checkpoints) operated by TOBB. (Iran border gate is closed. Disinfection control is done at Iraqi and Georgia gates). All the trucks are disinfected.
    • Local Chambers inform their members’ concerning the measures of protection against corona virus. Brochures and written materials are distributed in the local Chambers.
    • Sectoral working groups are formed within TOBB to put forward the difficulties of the industry and service sectors (tourism etc.) that are expected to be adversely affected and then we submit these problems and suggestions to the government.
    • Concerning the foreign trade, studies are being made to use more railways than road transport.
    • Alternative supply countries are being explored in order to mitigate the negative impact of distorted input supply chain.
    • TOBB examine consumer complaints about face masks. Unfair price increases are examined by our local chambers.
    • TOBB asked companies to hold general assembly and board meetings electronically and online through internet.
    • Validation of industrial capacity reports that expired in March and April have been extended to May

    General information:
    Ben Butters: butters@eurochambres.eu
    Roxana Dediu: dediu@eurochambres.eu
    Press:
    Karen Albuquerque: albuquerque@eurochambres.eu