The UHCC's international activities are basically two-fold:
- In the European Union, with European Commission and the Association of European Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Eurochambres), and
- In South-eastern Europe, with the A.B.C. (Association of Balkan Chambers) and the Association of the Black Sea Zone Chambers of Commerce & Industry.
Dynamic Presence Abroad
In Europe, the UHCC has set the following priorities:
- To provide integrated information services to its member-Chambers and their respective businesses.
- To efficiently represent Chambers abroad
- To perform its interventionist role vis-a-vis European authorities and decision-making centres, as effectively as possible
- To assert development projects from European agencies
Chamber representation in international organisations and fora is a major UHCC responsibility. This representation is defined per geographical region and organisation.
Moreover, the UHCC:
- Seeks to develop cooperation with Chamber Unions from other countries, and for this reason is responding positively to all bilateral cooperation requests.
- Is working closely with the Hellenic National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, to the benefit of Greek businessmen.
At the Centre of Europe
The UHCC promotes direct contacts with the European Commission Directorates-General, and especially those handling matters of interest to Chambers (Competition, Enterprise and Industry, Internal Market and Services, Regional Policy, Transport and Energy, Information Society and Media, Employment - Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Education and Culture, Environment etc), with the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament, to forward the interests of Hellenic businesses, or other Chamber-related matters. The Brussels Office plays a major role in these contacts and actions.
Furthermore, the UHCC is actively and systematically involved with the Eurochambres, the union that is the representative body of all Chambers from 25 EU member-states, but also other states having special relation with the EU (44 countries in total) and expresses the interests of two thousand Chambers of Commerce and Industry and approx. 18 million businesses. More than 80% of those businesses are SMEs, while Eurochambres members employ 120 million people in total.
The UHCC follows and participates in the proceedings of the Eurochambres' General Assemblies - Board of Directors meetings -Executive Committees and Annual Conferences. Moreover, it elaborates position and submits texts with proposals and opinions.
As a Eurochambres member, the UHCC has the opportunity to support the requests, and to seek solutions to the problems that productive sectors face in Greece, by expressing views and opinions during the creation of new European Commission pieces of legislation, and in defining the effects of community institutional initiatives within the context of single European market integration and consolidation.
The re-election of UHCC President George Kassimatis as Eurochambres Deputy President, responsible for energy, transports and tourism, has created the conditions for strengthening the UHCC presence in European developments.
The UHCC participates in various Eurochambres actions and initiatives (Export to Japan Promotion Campaign: «E.U. Gateway to Japan», Executice Training Programme for Japan and Korea etc).
Leading Role in Southeast Europe
The UHCC priorities also include fostering the cooperation with the Chamber Associations in Central and Eastern European countries, in particular the countries that have recently joined or are about to join the European Union.
In this framework, the UHCC is quite active with the Association of Balkan Chambers (ABC) which comprises the national Chamber associations and unions of the Balkan countries (Albania - Bulgaria - Cyprus FYROM - Greece - Romania - Turkey - Serbia - Montenegro), as well as initiatives promoting Black Sea cooperation, like the works of the Association of the Black Sea Zone Chambers of Commerce & Industry).
Specifically, the UHCC places great importance on interbalkan cooperation, and for this reason it plays a leading role in the Association of Balkan Chambers, being a founding member thereof. This deep involvement aspires to turning the Balkans into a region of economic growth and close commercial cooperation, and at the same time contributes to the gradual and steady rapprochement and convergence of the Balkan countries to the prospect of the unified Europe.
- Assisting member-state businesses to develop bilateral or multilateral relations within the Balkans.
- Establishing the necessary institutions to enable operation of the free market.
- Trade liberalisation in the Balkans
- Creation and development of a business information system
- Exhibitions and trade missions.
Finally, the UHCC follows the developments in the Balkans and relations with the countries in the region, by participating both in the Board of Directors of the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Centre (DIPEK) in Thessaloniki, and the works of the Permanent Committee for Trade Facilitation - HELLASPRO, that operates under the auspices of the Ministry of National Economy, on the resolution of technical foreign trade issues appearing in Greece's relations with SE European countries.