Disruptions in international supply chains create new opportunities for Kosovo-Iowa economic cooperation

Prishtina, June 19, 2020 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo organized a virtual conference with the business organization Greater Des Moines Partnership from the U.S. state of Iowa, through which AmCham members had the chance to discuss potential opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, as well as the ways Iowa has dealt with COVID-19 in economic terms.

Arian Zeka, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce, expressed satisfaction with the continuation of cooperation between Kosovo and Iowa as sister-states even during this time of pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very negative impact on the country’s economy and private sector in general, but this could create new opportunities for U.S. or other foreign investments by investors who might leave China and Asia and look for markets that offer similar advantages “, stated Zeka.

Xhavit Gashi, AmCham’s External Advisor, stressed that the ties between Kosovo and Iowa are very valuable, noting that Kosovo can take a great example from the state of Iowa which has managed the COVID-19 situation brilliantly.

Jay Byers, CEO of Greater Des Moines Partnership, while emphasizing the severity of the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the U.S. economy and supply chains, stated that this pandemic has also created opportunities for reforms in the economy.

“The pandemic has highlighted new trends based on technological advancements, such as those for decentralized employment and telework,” Byers stated, adding that he and the Kosovo Consulate in Iowa had planned a trade mission in Kosovo this year, to seek opportunities for investment and cooperation between the two countries, while emphasizing that they are waiting to return to normalcy to develop this event.

Ryan Caroll, International Trade Manager at Greater Des Moines Partnership, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the U.S. unemployment rate to reach its highest levels, at a time when full employment was almost achieved. Caroll stressed that manufacturing businesses in Iowa have been facing supply chain disruptions since the outbreak of the pandemic in China, adding that Greater Des Moines Partnership has implemented various strategic plans to help businesses during this time. Furthermore, Caroll added that special emphasis was given to the education system, where various home-schooling programs were created. According to him, this pandemic has created a strong need to invest in virtual processes, and to reorganize work processes in general.

Artan Duraku, Chief of Mission of the Consulate of the Republic of Kosovo in Des Moines lowa noted that ideally this month should have marked the largest visit of various industries Iowa businesses in Kosovo, especially businesses dealing with renewable energy, information technology and companies that may be interested in Kosovar wood processing industry. “The pandemic has limited investment opportunities considering that all businesses around the world are facing problems, nevertheless Kosovo must seek opportunities from this global change,” stated Duraku.