Trade between the Czech Republic and Belarus has been steadily growing over the past decade, with Czech exports to that country having risen by more 250 percent over the last five years. Belarus has also become an important destination for Czech investors, and its significance is set to rise in light of the Ukrainian crisis.
The Czech Finance Ministry is working on a draft law which would give the tax authorities more powers in investigating the source of undeclared property exceeding 10 million crowns. If the owner is unable to prove the origin of the assets, the authorities could levy a high tax on them. The proposal, which is part of a coalition agreement signed by the three ruling parties, has raised protests from the opposition.
A new campaign to support Czech-made food products will be launched this month. Funded by the Czech Ministry of Agriculture, the campaign - called České vánoce s regionálními výrobky, or Czech Christmas with Regional Products - is aimed to motivate consumers to buy locally-produced goods. Its costs are estimated at around 50 million crowns.
The troubled national carrier Czech Airlines is looking to drastically lower monthly salaries from the start of next year. According to the daily Lidové noviny, experienced captains with long tenure will be the hardest hit, seeing a drop in wages of up to 30 percent. Younger pilots could see wages drop by one-fifth, at least as evidenced by a wage schedule provided by the company to labour unions.
The three parties of the ruling coalition are poised to fulfill their election promises and scrap the second pillar of the pension insurance scheme introduced by the former center-right cabinet of prime minister Petr Nečas. The Social Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party would like to see it scrapped as of 2016, but Finance Minister Andrej Babiš’ ANO party is advising caution for fear that the move could spark a wave of legal complaints both from clients and financial institutions.
The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has drafted a bill which would allow thousands of miners to go into early retirement, thereby easing the social impact of the planned closure of the Paskov black-coal mine in north Moravia. The gradual phase-out of the coal mine and its eventual closure is expected to place a heavy social burden on a region where unemployment is traditionally high.
The Czech tram manufacturer Inekon has won a tender to sell trams to the US city of Detroit. The deal, worth 30 million crowns (roughly 652 USD), involves shipping three sets of trams to Detroit by the end of the third quarter of 2016, the server E15.cz reported this week, citing the company’s head of foreign sales Milan Haloun. The company is now seeking to secure bank guarantees.
Czech construction companies believe they have emerged from the worst and are looking for confirmation in 2015 that this is the case. Although some companies in the slimmed down sector say they are operating at near capacity, they argue that more could be done to speed up the throughput of public tenders.