The AmCham Board discussed 2024 priorities with US Ambassador Bijan Sabet and his political, economic and commercial team on January 22nd. Both sides agreed to address climate change and digitization, particularly cybersecurity, in the coming year.
AmCham has two items on its climate change agenda. The first is to attract more investments in developing the sustainable new technologies that will drive the next era of the global economy. The second is to increase the investment into renewable energy production on major office and manufacturing sites. We suggested to the Embassy that progress on either require a decision by the Czech government, Czech business, and Czech society on Europe’s Green Deal.
“Countries always face certain questions that determine their economy direction,” Weston Stacey says.
“How we respond to the Green Deal is one of those decisions. Even if we want to ignore the science and the consequent urgent need to change how we operate the economy if we want to maintain our prosperity, we still have to decide how we want to compete technologically with our main trading partners. The EU and the US have decided that technology in the future must be sustainable, and both of their private and public sectors have invested massively to create those technologies. We can try to take a short position against their bet, and not invest in new technologies. Or we can also bet that our scientific and engineering talent can find those technologies, and reap the profit of our innovativeness. These are the moments that determine if we are an innovative economy or an assemble economy. We should make that choice consciously.”
AmCham proposed to hold jointly with the Embassy a series of discussions with Czech political, business, and media leaders to explain the economic decision and opportunity posed by the Green Deal.
“We need to build our base of advanced technologies that are developed and produced here,” AmCham board member Pavel Sovička of Panattoni says. “Those technologies are predominately going to be sustainable. We can see the danger of ignoring this now that with the growth of the Chinese electric car industry.”
The quality and number of innovative people will decide how much technology we can develop. We explained how demography and the demand generated by a high level of investment have tightened the labor code, and how visa policy inhibits our innovative capacity. AmCham praised the efforts of VUTB rector Ladislav Janíček to modernize technical education, and align it with the needs of business. We offered to work with the Embassy on visa policy.
Finally, we discussed how we could work together to support the more effective digitization of the public sector, including ensuring that sensitive date is protected by effective cybersecurity.
The AmCham also presented a shortened version of its 2024 Business Outlook, which is attached below.