Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has set out for South Asia this week. Together with Industry Minister Marta Nováková and a delegation numbering dozens of Czech business representatives, the PM is visiting important economic hubs in the region. Expanding science, research, education and defence cooperation is also on the agenda.
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.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with Singapore’s President Halimah
Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday at the start of a
two-day official visit to the Asian state. Mr. Babiš said he saw Singapore
as the centre of economic activity in Southeast Asia.
The Czech PM hopes to primarily discuss trade cooperation in the wider region as well as partnerships in science, research, education and defence. Accompanying the prime minister is a delegation including representatives of 42 Czech companies.
The visit is part of a larger tour that will see the Czech PM also travel to Thailand and India this week. Babiš says that Asia and Africa offer the Czech Republic the opportunity to diversify its exports beyond the European Union.
The Czech Republic is Europe’s top toy distributor, exporting more than 50 billion crowns now annually, according to a new study by UniCredit bank. LEGO, Playmobil and similar plastic toy sets account for two-thirds of that, though the country is also churning out various miniature sets and dolls. Along with neighbouring Slovakia, the Czech Republic has been the fastest-growing toy exporter in the EU since 2004. I asked UniCredit bank senior economist Patrik Rožumberský how and when this country became the top exporter.
This year’s title Exporter of the Year award has again been claimed by the country’s largest automobile manufacturer Škoda Auto. The award for greatest export growth was won by pressure components manufacturer DGS Druckguss Systeme, while engineering firm Hutní Projekt Frýdek-Místek took the prize for best medium-sized exporter.
As the deadline date for Brexit looms ever closer, Czechs are asking themselves what the economic impact of a “hard” Brexit would be. A report published by Česká spořitelna, says that as the country’s fifth largest trading partner, the UK’s exit on WTO rules could cost tens of thousands of Czech jobs and around CZK 55 billion. However, the economic impact would be too small to affect projected economic growth.
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