One of the important points on Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček’s agenda during his two-day visit to Ukraine has been the strengthening of economic relations. While bilateral trade sank significantly in the immediate period following the 2014 revolution, it has been growing steadily since 2016 and now lies at nearly EUR 2 billion per year.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is in Davos this week talking to international leaders. On Thursday he met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Apple CEO Tim Cook. According the Mr. Babiš there is much potential for Czech companies in what is currently the country’s second largest trading partner in South America.
The Czech economy is by some measures the most competitive in Central and Eastern Europe. But productivity has not kept pace with the rapid wage growth of recent years. And without greater state support for applied research and to encourage innovation, the Ministry of Industry warns, long-term competitiveness – already now “frozen” – could plummet.
A direct flight line connecting Prague with Bangkok could be established by the end of 2019. The plan is the result of a meeting between a Czech delegation led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and representatives of Malaysian airline Air Asia, in Bangkok. If the plan goes ahead the prime minister believes it would help boost trade and tourism.
Tuesday's vote against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has raised fresh concern in the Czech Republic regarding the uncertainty that lies ahead and the possibility of a “hard” Brexit. According to the leading Czech business daily Hospodářské noviny a “hard” Bexit would result in a drop in direct and indirect Czech exports to Britain and the loss of an estimated 40 thousand jobs on the home market.