The History of the Association of Exporters
The Association of Exporters has been helping Czech exporters for 20 years. Its establishment dates back to 18 April 2002 when representatives of 40 signatory companies of the “Trutnov Call” (Trutnovská výzva) met in Trutnov. In addition to the entrepreneurs, the meeting was attended by the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce – Dr. Zdeněk Somr. He supported the signatories’ opinion that the Trutnov Call was an autonomous initiative which would continue to act independently and without strong ties to professional associations and other organisations. The signatories discussed and adopted specific requirements, which would be advocated by a delegated eight-member team. Within a few days, the Trutnov Call was signed by 180 companies demanding
that the government and the Czech National Bank (CNB) do something about the appreciation of the koruna. Several days later, the Czech National Bank cut the interest rates.
The interest rate cut was the key requirement of the Trutnov Call. The entrepreneurs’ appreciation for the bank’s step was made even more profound by the fact that the political atmosphere was not in favour of such a solution. The sharp cut of rates by 0.5% signalled that the CNB understood the risks stemming from the rate that was stabilised in the short-term, but still overvalued by speculations. The signatories considered it crucial that government representatives and other politicians not undermine the effort of the central bank with their ill-considered statements. On the contrary, they wanted them to contribute to the creation of a stable economic environment. Therefore, they called on the government to discuss its intentions – especially those concerning the sale of state shares in privatised enterprises – with the bank.
Gradually, the activities of the Association of Exporters have expanded. Its aim is to preserve and increase the competitiveness of Czech companies, especially ones focusing on export. The Association’s representatives monitor the tendencies and legislative development of the European Union and point out potential risks for the Czech Republic. The Association’s members foster communication with the government during preparation of export supportive measures and also contribute to consolidation of the relationship with the CNB representatives. The Association also co-operates with top analysts and focuses on analysis of data that indicate the influence of domestic export companies on the Czech Republic economy.
The Association promotes its goals in media and organises and holds educational, social and promotional events. The Association now also communicates via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Association’s members may attend the Export Forum, which is held twice a year. There have been 22 of them so far, and these expert meetings have gradually become a prestigious event where exporters, banks and the government exchange their opinions. In the last four years, the Association has also closely co-operated with the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP).
Another integral part of the Association’s activities is the regular preparation of the Export Index. The Export Index is a unique tool used to predict the development of the Czech export performance several months ahead based on a number of statistics and chosen leading indicators. Its current form is the result of in-depth co-operation between Raiffeisenbank and the Association of Exporters. The Index includes the following parameters: the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of the Eurozone, the real effective exchange rate of the Czech koruna against the euro adjusted for the inflation in industry, German industry contracts and Czech contracts from abroad. Interviews with Czech exporters regarding their expectations concerning the future development of export are also conducted out on a quarterly basis as part of the Index preparation.