Chief looks to automated future as Chamber of Commerce marks 25 years

Vladimír Dlouhý, photo: CTK

The Czech Chamber of Commerce on Monday marked 25 years of existence. The organisation’s president, Vladimír Dlouhý, says its members have much to be pleased about – but says the state and the business community need to plan now for a future of increased automation.

Vladimír Dlouhý, photo: CTK
The Chamber of Commerce is the biggest organisation of its kind in the Czech Republic. It brings together around 15,000 businesspeople divided into 68 regional and 102 sector associations.

On Monday the Chamber marked the 25th anniversary of its establishment in its current form at a special conference in Prague.

Speaking ahead of that event on Czech Radio Plus, its president, Vladimír Dlouhý, said his members were currently enjoying a good moment.

“I’m glad that the Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 25th anniversary at a time when the Czech economy is doing well. Rapid economic growth, low unemployment, the public finances are in order – these are things many European countries envy us for. Politicians perhaps laid solid foundations in the early 1990s or later for us being where we are today. But without the hard work of the business community we wouldn’t be there.”

While the Chamber of Commerce may have reason to pat itself on the back, Mr. Dlouhý said the business organisation was also looking to the future.

“I don’t like the term ‘industry 4.0’. But working processes will be organised differently. Individual production places will be able to communicate with one another without human involvement. That will sharply increase labour productivity. It will reduce employment in some areas. But it will also increase jobs in other areas.”

Stakeholders must get ready well in advance for the major changes that this increased automation will deliver, Vladimír Dlouhý told Plus.

Chamber of Commerce's new logo, photo: CTK
“Everybody, both the state and businesspeople, has to prepare. The state needs to invest more and to take better care of infrastructure, above all digital infrastructure, so that the whole country has high-speed internet coverage. Curricula need to be changed, from elementary schools to universities. The state also needs to facilitate requalification, because people will need to learn their whole lives. And businesspeople will need to be more flexible in the face of new opportunities. They have to realise that the only way forward is by going digital and electronic.”

The position of the Chamber of Commerce, which unveiled a new logo on Monday, is enshrined in law. However it is not financed by the state. Its members contribute some CZK 250 million to the organisation every year.