From a number of months now the South Korean car maker Hyundai has been considering opening a huge new plant in north Moravia; if it happens, it will transform the region's economy. A decision had been due at the end of December, but talks stalled. On Thursday a delegation from Hyundai completed a fresh round of negotiations in Prague, but still no contract has been signed. The minister of industry and trade, Milan Urban, said at a press briefing on Thursday morning that he believed a final deal would be announced at the end of next month.
The South Korean car maker Hyundai has confirmed a major investment in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech internet daily Novinky, Hyuandai said in a letter to the Turkish industry minister, that it had decided to build its new car plant in Nosovice, north Moravia, mainly thanks to the lower tax burden. A Hyuindai spokesman later confirmed that the firm was sending a delegation to the Czech Republic to sign a contract worth 30 to 40 billion crowns. The new plant is expected to decrease unemployment in the region. Scheduled to begin operation in 2008 the plant will employ some 3,000 people and provide more jobs for people in supplier companies.
Beer is without a doubt one of the Czech Republic's best-known products. It attracts thousands to visit the country but Czech brews are also increasingly available abroad. While domestic consumption remains roughly the same, export figures are growing by the year. Last year the volume of exported Czech beer reached a record 3 million hectolitres.
Social Democrat MP Kraus accused of corruption, gives up influential posts; Civic Democrat MP Dolezal resigns from Parliament over corruption charges; Record number of cars produced last year; CzechInvest helped secure a 'record' 154 investment projects in 2005; Czech currency reaches all-time high against the euro; Record number of self-employed foreigners noted in 2005; Unient Communications set to become first 'virtual' mobile operator
A final decision is expected to be announced shortly on a huge foreign investment to the Czech Republic. A Czech delegation is on its way back from South Korea, where it has been finalizing details on plans for a major Hyundai assembly plant with an annual capacity of 300,000 cars. The Korean car-maker seems almost certain to choose this country, and several sites in the eastern part of the Czech Republic have been prepared. David Vaughan spoke to auto journalist Lyle Frink about the project and asked him what's at stake.
The state agency for attracting investment, CzechInvest, had some positive news on Monday: last year the agency secured a record number of investments, worth a total of over three billion US dollars. And if a deal to build a huge Hyundai car plant to Moravia comes to fruition, this year could be even better.
Jeremy Rifkin is one of the most controversial American academics. The economist, philosopher, university professor and writer has published 17 books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, and has also been an advisor to many European politicians, including the former EU Commission president, Romano Prodi. David Vaughan caught up with him when he came to Prague towards the end of last year to plug the Czech edition of his newest book The European Dream - how Europe's vision of the future is quietly eclipsing the American
The Czech Republic currently has several institutions that promote it abroad. CzechInvest and CzechTrade, for example, focus on business and economics. CzechTourism is self-explanatory, and the country's numerous Czech Centres around the world mainly concentrate on culture. But the work of these agencies has never been co-ordinated. Until now that is. On Wednesday the government announced that Czech-Canadian Otto Jelinek is to become the country's first International Co-ordinator for Economic Activities.
In Business News: the National Bank governor warns the government's spending programme for 2006 could jeopardise plans to introduce the euro in 2010; the cabinet rejects an opposition plan to cut bureaucracy for small companies; employers will have to pay the first two weeks' sick pay; the Czech IT market grows by a tenth in 2005; and while over 5 percent of Czechs have broadband internet, plans for free WiFi in Prague meet opposition.
Just four days left to Christmas and no doubt many of you are still desperately running around the shops trying to do the last of your Christmas shopping. This year Czechs are borrowing more than ever to buy presents for their nearest and dearest - according to some figures Czechs will borrow some 415 billion crowns from banks alone.
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