Welcome as the newest BSCC Board Director! You have been a member of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is under the British Chambers of Commerce's umbrella, for many years. Could you share your experience and highlights about this sector?
Richard:The first Chamber of Commerce was founded in Marseilles in 1599. With the growth of international trade The British Chambers of Commerce were established in 1860 and The London Chamber of Commerce LCCI in 1891. The International Chamber of Commerce, in Paris exists since 1919. As a firm believer in the Chamber movement I am proud to be both a long serving Director of LCCI and the newest Board member of The British Chamber of Commerce (BSCC).
Could you elaborate on how long you have been following the work of the BSCC in London and share your opinion on the importance of international and bilateral trade? How do you envision the BSCC forthcoming period?
Richard: "Think local act Global". Chambers epitomise this positive approach. As conduits for both inward investment and outward export the Chamber has always been a force for good. The British Serbian Chamber of Commerce is a living dynamic example of the friendly state of British Serbian relations and the improving trade flows. As Thomas Jefferson said" Commerce and honest friendship with all" and this is an appropriate description of the BSCC. Founded in 2008 with offices in London and Belgrade the BSCC has made great strides in both credibility and membership not just on a bilateral basis but also in the Western Balkans. This undoubted progress can be attributed to its visionary leadership and inclusive, welcoming ethos. It is a truism that a Chamber is only as good as its members. In the case of the BSCC 'blue chip' is an apt description. Members are a balanced mix of British and Serbian plus other nationals with interests in the region. The BSCC is perfectly positioned to act as both a catalyst and a conduit for two way business, plus as a hub to facilitate access and trade with the wider Western Balkans region. In the future I see, corporate finance, Insurance, Family Office services, due diligence, integrity, risk mitigation ,plus ESG( Environmental, Social,Governmental) as being attractive sectors for development. Of course young people are the future , so I would encourage more BSCC mentoring and bilateral educational exchanges. Finally , there is no doubt that since 2008 the BSCC has been a force for good . As a firm believer in the power of trade and private enterprise to build peace and reconciliation I am proud to be associated with the BSCC.
Are you familiar with the Western Balkans region and have you had the chance to work between the UK and this market?
Richard: As an international market access and business development specialist I have followed the BSCC since inception. I needed little convincing of the merits of doing business in Serbia when I organised the first Belgrade Wealth Forum in 2017. Since then Serbia has gone from strength to strength as have both bilateral political and commercial relations thanks in no small part to the BSCC and the dedicated trade teams in both Embassies. " The only way is up"!
As can be witnessed by the regularly improving annual trade flows U.K.- Serbian relations are not only enjoying a renaissance but also" total trade in goods and services between the U.K. and Serbia was £938 million in the four quarters to the end of Q2 in 2023. An increase of 14.3% or £. 123 million from the previous year".