Canada is a massive player on the world aviation and aerospace markets and a delegation made up of some of that country’s top company representatives are now in the Czech Republic. They are trying to chart ways to boost two way production and research cooperation.
The Canadian delegation is in the Czech Republic for five days during which they will be taking part in a lot of business to business networking and getting to know what Czech aircraft and aerospace companies and research bodies can offer in terms of cooperation. The Canadian visit is the return leg of a similar Czech visit in May 2017.
Deputy Czech Minister of Trade and Industry Vladimír Bärtl explained why the visit is so timely right now:
ʺThe aerospace sector is a priority sector for both the Czech and Canadian governments. When we have the EU-Canada free trade agreement in force it makes much more sense now because we have a strong common base and Czech companies are already involved in the aerospace sector in Canada and vice versa. I think that the Canadian presence in the Czech Republic – we can talk about the bell Helicopter Centre in Prague or the cooperation of AERO Vodochody with the C series with Bombardier - is really important but still modest and we can elaborate on that.ʺ
The EU-Canada trade deal entered into force last September and should cut import duties and a lot of painful paperwork for business. And there is a lot be gained on the Czech side. The Canadian industry is worth around 28 billion Canadian dollars a year or around 550 billion Czech crowns and around 87,000 Canadians have direct jobs as a result. The Czech sector is estimated to employ around 10,000 and have turnover of around 700-800 million euros (around 18-20 billion crowns).
The Canadians have the world’s third biggest aviation and aerospace sector, the biggest global turboprop sector, and is fifth in the world for aviation and aerospace research and development.
A lot of that has come about as a result of the almost seamless cooperation with US producers. The Czechs can boast that their companies are present across the board from key cables and components to production of complete sports and jet trainer aircraft. One of the Canadian company representatives from the MHI Canada Aerospace, part of the Mitsubishi group, outlined what the Czechs could offer:
ʺThe big think is low risk. The ability to achieve technically, the ability to deliver high quality on time. And then overall competitive cost. You want partners that can be with you and grow sort of. I think if the companies look at just the hourly wage, that is not the right metric at all. You want to look at everything sum total. I think that the Czech Republic has advantages in that. It is competitive on wages obviously but there is also the technical and innovation aspect is very important.ʺ
Czech companies are also already supplying some of the global aerospace big players such as Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and Gulfstream.