The Czech Gulf Business Council is a Chamber of Commerce that supports export opportunities in the Gulf States, expanding the influence of Czech traders in these GCC states and also bringing new Arab investors to the Czech market. It actively helps Czech exporters to identify potential clients and to participate in ongoing tenders. The Chairman of the CGBC Chamber is Mgr. Robert Pergl.
How long has the Chamber been operating in the market? Four years. The Chamber was founded in 2014 with the vision of establishing long-term business cooperation with the Gulf countries.
What have you been able to achieve in these four years in the local or even the Czech market?
Even though four years is a relatively short time, I can say we have done a lot. We have brokered dozens of deals. Initially, it was more about importing engineering and food products. At present, demand is mainly driven by the export of smart technologies and IOT (Internet of Things). Over the last four years, the segment of the demand market has changed a lot, which makes me very happy because it is a sign that the Czech Republic is becoming one of the technological superpowers, thus the range of companies we are helping to succeed in the GCC markets has changed.
The term "Gulf countries" or "GCC states" is often repeated - but which particular countries does the CGBC focus on?
The GCC states are countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Our Chamber has recently been focusing mainly on the United Arab Emirates (mainly Abu Dhabi), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Qatar is currently politically unstable and Kuwait is struggling with internal problems. Oman is a promising but small country.
Which of these countries has the greatest potential?
Currently, the largest development is in Bahrain, thanks to newly discovered oil and gas deposits. In early April, Bahrain's Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa announced its biggest discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in decades. The deposits is estimated to be of at least 80 billion barrels of tight oil and about 90 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Nowadays, demand for smart technology and supplies of petrochemical products is coming from Bahrain.
The Czech Republic is becoming one of the technological superpowers.
How do you see the future development of the Gulf countries?
In my opinion, there has been a stagnation in the region over the last few years, because the price of oil has been low, which is decisive for the development of the economies of the countries concerned. However, today, at the current price of oil, which is at one of the highest levels in the last five years, the inflow of possible investments by the economies of these states into the development of a smart technology infrastructure is starting to be quite large. That's why I see many opportunities for companies that focus on the petrochemical industry, oil industry and smart technology. In addition, it is important to realize that the GCC states are investing heavily in their security and defense industries, so there is also great potential in this field.
What is your biggest recent success?
In Dubai, the world's tallest building is currently under construction - the Dubai Creek Tower, which should be nearly a kilometer high. Our Chamber helps Czech manufacturers to supply their products and technologies for construction of this unique building. The construction is to be completed in 2020.
What does your Chamber plan for the future?
I can not be specific, however, in the framework of the mission of the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, which will take place in September, we are signing several significant contracts in the Gulf region worth hundreds of millions of dollars.