Discover how the members of ASCAME are fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak

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We are living in a time when Europe and several Mediterranean countries have become the epicentre of an unprecedented pandemic, the Covid-19 virus, which has already taken the lives of thousands of people and is rapidly spreading through other regions that have not yet experienced its devastating consequences.

The private sector is playing a key role in the battle against Covid-19. Hundreds of companies around the world are donating funds for research, providing financial or material support, manufacturing in their production sites healthcare materials and medical supplies, collaborating closely with public institutions, etc. in order to be able build a single front against this threat.

As representatives of the Mediterranean private sector, one of the regions that has been most seriously affected by the pandemic, a large number of ASCAME members have launched several initiatives to support both SME’s and big corporations face the coronavirus economic crisis:

  • Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation

The Barcelona Chamber of Commerce has launched a solidarity fund to raise resources that help fight both health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, this fund will be focused on health equipment purchase and manufacturing, but also on research against the virus. On the other, it will be aimed to implement actions that support start-ups, SME’s, larger companies, self- employed and entrepreneurs.

As additional measures, the Chamber has created a contact form for companies so that they can explain their current situation and get senior advice; it has launched an information portal on everything related to COVID-19; it is offering advice from the international team for queries related to international trade, and it has also set up training webinars for companies.

Moreover, the Chamber is offering online training for SMEs as well as online conferences on the COVID-19 outbreak and its possible solutions. Also, the Barcelona Chamber is also working on the creation of a face mask which aiming to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

  • Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of the Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima region

The Chamber of Commerce of Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima has launched several initiatives to fight against the pandemic, such as its participation in the National Economic Intelligence Commission chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance in order to take measures to support the national economy, SMEs, very small companies, employees, families in difficult situations and people who work in informal sectors.

A special fund for the management of the pandemic has been created by HM King Mohamed VI, to which the Chamber has contributed with a million euros. Moreover, the President of the Tanger Chamber, Omar Moro, has coordinated a series of measures from the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Services of Morocco.

In addition, the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Chamber and the Association of Moroccan Textile and Clothing Industries have agreed on producing and distributing 3 million masks for free.

The Moroccan government has also put in place some measures like the suspension of social security charges, the creation of new operating credit lines, a medical assistance plan or the deferral of tax returns.

  • Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Piraeus Chamber of Commerce has adopted a proactive communications strategy towards its members and partners and, since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, has sent several statements written by its President, Vassilis Koridis, with the aim of providing its members with relevant information on the key topics concerning the current crisis.

For example, one of the statements asked the European Union for a ‘EU blank check’ with an open expire date. It has also distributed an article about the main measures put in place in Greece to fight against de pandemic.

Furthermore, another article was released asking European Institutions for a ‘green light’ to a fund of 2 billion euros for Greece, applauding the short-term measures taken by the Commission for the protection of jobs in the countries affected by the virus, but pointing out the lack of long-term support of SME’s.

Also, President Korkidis, published a statement regarding the EU Leaders Summit asking Europe to move fast to defeat the coronavirus crisis.  He claims that the European Union must prove that it can be more than the sum of its members. “Many member states, including Greece, under the pressure of the emergency, have been ineffective, during these last weeks, to prevent the EU from being led into a scattered landscape of two camps with weak measures to deal with the economic impact. After all, for recovery from such a major crisis, only a common European solution can solve, putting the single market at the center of the final decisions. So even if it is too late, Europe needs to set up a strong and flexible 1.5 trillion-euro Recovery Fund for member states to meet emerging fiscal risks. Today, more than ever, we need a strong Europe”, has stated Mr. Korkidis. Click here to read the full statement

The Piraeus Chamber has recently published statements informing ASCAME and its partners about the latest economic measures applied in Greece and the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictive measures

  • Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Algerian Chamber of Commerce & Industry has launched a guidance campaign for Algerian companies facing the COVID-19 health crisis in order to establish their roadmap, essential for their survival through the maintenance of their production tools, revenues and therefore the salaries of their employees during these difficult times.

In this regard, the Chamber will publish a series of articles, proposed by Algerian experts, on subjects of interest to companies so they can face the hazards of the current health and economic crisis. One of the articles published is dedicated to teleworking in times of confinement.

  • Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Artisanship (Unioncamere)

Unioncamere, the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Artisanship, has launched a new business-friendly portal in the Coronavirus emergency, an online platform to help entrepreneurs to understand the national and regional measures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. The portal allows a targeted search of the rules adopted at central and local level and pays particular attention to opportunities for financial support. More information here

Moreover, Unioncamere in cooperation with Promos italia have also launched a special Help Desk for businesses operating in foreing markets, which offers companies initial assistance in solving legal, customs and fiscal problems related to foreign trade in times of coronavirus. More information here

  • Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon

The Chamber has published a statement on the economic situation in Lebanon during the Covid-19 pandemic with a proposal of measures that could be implemented in the coming months.

Lebanon was already experiencing the consequences of the 17 October crisis. This, together with the negative effects of coronavirus is leading to a slowdown in the economy that will be a prejudicial for the state, as well as for employees and businesses.

The Chamber is asking both the Lebanese Government and Central Bank to put in place urgent measures to support businesses, avoid companies’ shutdowns and also the destabilization of the economic circuit.

  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS)

In view of the current situation caused by the coronavirus and the state of emergency declared in Serbia on 15th of March 2020, CCIS’s current main goal is to support its members and reduce the consequences for Serbian businesses and economy. Therefore, it has launched an ‘Info service’ to provide companies with any relevant information related to doing business in the country and abroad, the economic effects on certain sectors, the latest developments and every official recommendation and measure.

Moreover, it has invited all economic operators in Serbia, to communicate any issues regarding transportation, supply, export and import of raw materials, participation in trade fairs, etc. It has also put in place a specific email address and phone number.

  • Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation of Tunisia (APII)

The APII, a Tunisian government institution in charge of the promotion of investment, entrepreneurship and innovation regarding industries and services, has put in place some new measures in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, such as trying to offer all its services online.

A new service for customers who want to submit their application to register their companies online has been launched. Moreover, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Industry and SMEs, a new service has been implemented for already existing SMEs wanting to maintain their activity during sanitary confinement. In addition, the APII is conducting a survey among SMEs and entrepreneurs to figure out which measure should be taken to mitigate the negative consequences for businesses, and has also set up some useful trainings for start-ups and entrepreneurs.  

  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region (CCIR PACA)

In order to face the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chamber has mobilized all its consular network in the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region. All its teams are working together with national companies, government and other partners and have set an initiative to distribute all types of useful information for employers with the aim of helping them access all available options within the public system.

Moreover, it has established a special telephone and email address to solve any question concerning this crisis, as well as conducted a survey to draw firm conclusions on the main problems, concerns, mobilisation of financial aid programmes and resources, etc.

  • Croatian Chamber of Economy (CCE)

Croatia is not only facing major economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also those from the earthquake that hit its capital city a few weeks ago.

As a response to the coronavirus outbreak, the CCE informs regularly on a separate section of its website on the development of the situation and the details that affect businesses, such as daily recommendations for the preservation of health and sector-specific guidance focused on the problems faced by particular industries.

A special e-mail address for coronavirus has also been set and three inter-company surveys have been conducted in order to get some insights on the consequences and most common problems for companies as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, the Chamber is drafting measures aimed at productive and export oriented sectors of the economy and preserving liquidity.

  • Istambul Chamber of Commerce (ICoC)

The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICoC) is trying to find the best solutions for all enterprises and businesses affected from the outbreak with the support of the Turkish government. Online services are being provided during this crisis period and members can get access to many services via its web portal.

In cooperation with Istanbul Governorship, ICoC has donated 5 million Turkish Liras to National Solidarity Campaign initiated by the President of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Furthermore, under the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, as the Chambers, they are considering a loan scheme for their SMEs members to help them recover their businesses.

The Chamber has started a campaign for announcing the government's economic measures against coronavirus mainly through its social media channels and the Chamber’s newspaper. It has also encouraged its partners and member companies to be online and use the e-document services offered by the Chamber on its website.

In addition, President Erdoğan has announced several government’s measure concerning tax and social security payments and other policies to support companies and boost the economy.

  • The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB)

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) has organised a series of online meetings and trainings on different topics related to the effects of the pandemic. For example, the TOBB Turkey Education Council was held online to talk about problems and solutions in the sector, especially for private educational institutions. A consultation meeting with Trade Minister Pekcan about the difficulties experienced by the business world also took place.

At a video conference with the German-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a presentation was given on the applications implemented to support the private sector within the scope of Covid-19 measures in Turkey while also receiving notes on the problems of German investors in Turkey.  Furthermore, the Council of Chambers of Maritime Commerce discussed the state of the maritime sector, from transportation to shipyards to marine tourism, the effects of the outbreak and the measures needed to be take.

  • Spanish Chamber of Commerce

The Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce have launched an informative website in which the supply and demand for protection elements and equipment (masks, gloves, visual protectors, gowns and hydro-alcoholic solutions) will be published. This will facilitate the supply of this type of products, especially to small and medium-sized companies.

On the other hand, the president of the Spanish Chamber, José Luis Bonet, has met online with the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, who has thanked the role that companies and Chambers of Commerce are playing in the fight against the coronavirus.

  • Barcelona Port

The Port of Barcelona will begin to apply in the next few days a series of shock measures aimed at mitigating the economic impact that the Covid-19 is having in the Port Community.

The economic measures are divided into two groups. On the one hand, those destined for the release of liquidity, which will represent about 45.3 million euros. On the other, the rate reductions, which will mean a saving of 10.6 million euros for operators. They are all shock measures with which the Port of Barcelona will make 56 million euros available to the business community to withstand the effects of the pandemic.

  • Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry’s President, David Xuereb has called on businesses to recognise that the changes brought by COVID-19 will not be ending shortly. Companies will have to adapt to change. The President has asked the business community to be realistic when facing the consequences of the pandemic, while encouraging them to read all available information from the health authorities.

“It is the time for everyone to take a reality check and stop and think about what should happen next. We must learn to do things differently. Let us recognise that our lives and our businesses during and after COVID-19 will be different to what they were”, he claimed.

  • Algerian-Spanish Circle of Commerce and Industry (CCIAE)

The Algerian-Spanish Circle of Commerce and Industry (CCIAE) has presented the report ‘The Covid-19 Health Crisis, Prelude to a Global Economic Recovery Plan’. A document that contains an analysis of the current situation in Algeria, a review of the measures implemented so far as well as a series of recommendations. Click here to read the report.

  • Malaga Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation

The Malaga Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation has presented a support plan for SMEs and entrepreneurs. The support plan, available online, includes information and support on regulations, search of financing, training and webinars, internationalization, good practices, digitalization, innovation, plans for tourism businesses and online activation of companies among other tools which can be useful during these difficult times. 

  • Oranie Chamber of Commerce

The Oranie Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with EVIDENCIA and ASCAME, carried out a study on the economic impact of coronavirus COVID-19 on Algerian enterprises. The objective of the study was to get to clearly know the situation of the Algerian business network, to be able to find effective solutions to overcome the situation. Click here to read the conclusions of the study.  

 

ASCAME's President, Ahmed M. El Wakil, called all members to be engaged in solidarity initiatives in the Mediterranean, while asking them to mobilise health, textile and innovation companies that provide the needed material and expertise to fight against the pandemic.

From ASCAME’s General Secretariat, we want to congratulate our members for their implication and the exemplary measures they are developing to face the Covid-19 crisis. We also want to thank them for sharing with us the situation each county is experiencing and the actions and policies that are being put in place to support economy and the society in general. We encourage all the members of ASCAME to continue sending us information about their situation, measures, ideas and proposals. Cooperation and a common response will be key to overcome the current challenges. 

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