On a visit to the Papcel Litovel factory in the Olomouc region, President Miloš Zeman expressed the view that human right issues should not be allowed to stand in the way of business and trade. He said the country’s business interests were sometimes hurt by what he called an excessive emphasis on human rights on the part of Czech leaders, citing the cancelled visit by the president of Uzbekistan as an example. Mr. Zeman said this was a self-defeating policy, noting that since the Ubzbek head of state was not going to visit the country it would not be possible to bring up the issue of human rights face to face. At the same time, the Czech Republic was losing investment opportunities and risking business already underway in the country, the president noted. The Papcel Litovel factory has an eight million dollar investment in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek president recently cancelled his visit to the Czech Republic after the prime minister and the mayor of Prague said they were not willing to meet with him.
The crisis in Ukraine continues to fill the front pages of Czech dailies and in addition to the political implications of Russia’s aggressive policy in the region, there are growing economic concerns for Czech producers who do business on eastern markets. The country’s annual exports to Ukraine are worth 33.5 billion and its exports to Russia, which have grown tenfold in the past decade, now reach 116 billion crowns annually. I spoke to the vice-president of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Radek Špicar to find out how the crisis
A new package of investment incentives is being drawn up with the onus on cutting company payments rather than forcing them to reclaim cash from the state. The new rules could cushion some of the impact of stricter European regional aid rules which are expected to blunt the Czech Republic’s use of this incentive for investors.
At first glance, the jibe of Napolean Bonaparte that the British were a nation of shopkeepers might seem to ring true. British based retailers Marks and Spencer, Tesco, and Debenhams are among some of the most visible exports to Czech cities. But the British are now seeking to significantly broaden their impact.
A total of 131 Czech companies filed for bankruptcy in February, which was 46 more than in the previous month, according to a study by the consultancy CRIF Czech Credit Bureau released on Tuesday. Last month also saw 574 bankruptcies of self-employed entrepreneurs, which was the highest number since 2008, and 180 more than in January. Meanwhile, 1941 personal bankruptcies were declared last month, up by 394 from the previous month and also the highest number since 2008, according to CRIF Czech Credit Bureau.
Attracting foreign investment has become a much debated issue in recent months with the government working on a new strategy to promote the country’s business interests in far-flung destinations. Now the north Bohemian town of Žatec is reported to be close to signing a 20-billion crown investment deal that could provide over two thousand jobs is a region suffering from high unemployment.
Brno City Hall on Wednesday approved a deal with a construction firm to build a distribution centre for the US-based online retailer on the outskirts of the city. The project was halted two weeks over disputes concerning the site of the planned building; negotiations only moved ahead after the construction company CTP Invest agreed to buy the land and hand it over the city. The agreement is yet to be approved by Brno municipal assembly which is scheduled to discuss it on March 18.
The UK frozen food retailer Iceland recently opened its first store in Prague, its third location in the Czech Republic. The popular chain wants Czechs to acquire a taste for its frozen staples; if they do, Iceland has big plans for its Czech operation, with an appetite to expand to other countries in the region as well.
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March 25, 1945 – the day the Americans bombed Prague deliberately