KAZAN, Tatarstan

Chambers of trade and commerce play a key role in the dialogue between civil society and governments to power sustainable national economic development, said the president of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan on Wednesday.

“Often, trade and commerce chambers initiate important projects and provide the tools to investigate the situation in global markets,” Rustam Minnikhanov told day two of the three-day Kazan Summit 2021 in Tatarstan, with Anadolu Agency as the event’s global communications partner.

“During the pandemic, (chambers) turned to be a very effective tool, and once again demonstrated the importance of cooperation with state authorities,” he added.

Many small businesses were on the verge of bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic, said Minnikhanov, adding that Tatarstan’s Chamber of Commerce helped address this challenge about how to stabilize the situation in cooperation with the government.

Stressing that Tatarstan is one of the leading and most economically developed entities in Russia, Minnikhanov said chambers also actively work with younger generations, involving young people in business activities.

“Our chamber of commerce helps integrate our republic in global trade, it also helps to facilitate the business framing in our republic … We are ready for wide cooperation with our partners,” he said.

Strong Turkish chamber system

Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the head of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), said the summit will help develop the private sector in participating members’ countries.

TOBB is the umbrella organization of the business community in Turkey, he said, with 1.5 million members representing the trade, industry, agriculture, logistics, construction, and tourism sectors.

“We also have a very wide network abroad. We take part in the management of business organizations in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Islamic areas. Our group has a representative office in Moscow,” he said.

Hisarciklioglu said both Turkey and the TOBB work together with the Russian Federation’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a bilateral level and within Eurochambres, in addition to the Russian Industry and Entrepreneurs Union.

He emphasized that the private sector and entrepreneurship are the basis of the transformation of Turkey towards an open market economy, and that its chamber system operates to support companies and entrepreneurship.

“In order to achieve this, we have increased the service capacity of our chambers,” he explained.

“We have established an accreditation system. Its criteria are determined by international institutions. Inspections are made by independent institutions. Thus, we aim to raise all our services to European standards. Currently, all of our chambers in big cities and most of them in smaller cities are accredited.”

He said Turkey’s chambers have begun to implement international projects so they can obtain funds from abroad and work together with European chambers, and added that their arbitration and mediation centers can help resolve commercial disputes faster.

“In fact, I can proudly state that the Turkish chamber system is one of the most advanced and is among the top three chamber systems in the world,” Hisarciklioglu said.

“If there’s a strong chamber system, the private sector will be stronger, if the private sector is strong, prosperity and development will come,” he added.

The Kazan Summit 2021, called by organizers one of the leading international economic events of the Russian Federation and the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), lasts through Friday.​​​​​​​

*Ovunc Kutlu in Ankara contributed to this report​​​​

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