Business News

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The Czech public finance deficit is expected to grow to 6.3 percent of GDP in 2003, exceeding the Maastricht criterion for joining Eurozone by more than 100 percent. Czech companies are gradually gaining a foothold in markets in China and the former Soviet Union - territories they abandoned after the fall of the Communist regime in the early 1990s. The world-famous Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar has won another trade-mark dispute with America's Anheuser-Busch. The Ministry of Transport is considering the introduction of an electronic toll for trucks.

Public finance deficit to grow to 6.3 pct of GDP in 2003

The Czech public finance deficit is expected to grow to 6.3 percent of GDP in 2003, from 5.7 percent this year. This estimate is included in the draft state budget the government has sent to the Chamber of Deputies for discussion. The deficit does not include the losses of transformation institutions that have been taking over non-performing assets from state-owned companies. Otherwise the deficit would reach 9 percent this year and almost 8 percent in 2003. The criteria for joining the Eurozone stipulate that a country's public finance deficit must not exceed 3 percent of GDP.

Czech companies focus on Chinese, Russian markets

Czech companies are gradually gaining a foothold in markets in China and the former Soviet Union. According to the government agency for supporting exports, CzechTrade, potential for the growth of Czech presence on these markets is great. The Czech Union of Industrial Companies considers a return to Chinese and Russian markets as a top priority. These territories were abandoned by Czech companies after the fall of the Communist regime in the region. However, a lot of Czech installations that need repair or replacement remain there.

One of the main areas where Czech exporters have great opportunities in China is the energy sector: Czech supplies for the Shen-tou power station worth around 270 million USD started recently. On the other hand, the main commodities Czechs can export to Russia include construction materials, and equipment for metal and wood processing.

Budvar upholds rights to Budejovicky Budvar trademark in Japan

The world-famous Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar has won another trade-mark dispute with America's Anheuser-Busch over the brand names Budweiser and Budejovicky Budvar and their derivatives. A court in Tokyo last week rejected a lawsuit filed by Anheuser-Busch aimed at preventing Budvar from selling its beer in Japan under its traditional Budejovicky Budvar brand.

Budvar has had to face numerous lawsuits filed by Anheuser-Busch. The American giant argues that it established and made famous the Budweiser trademark around the world, introducing it in 1876 while Budvar was established in 1895. However, the name Budejovicky or Budweiser refers to the place of origin, the South-Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice.

Budvar has registered 380 trademarks in more than 100 countries and is currently involved in 40 court disputes with Anheuser Busch.

Transport Ministry considers electronic motorway toll for trucks

The Ministry of Transport is reportedly considering the introduction of an electronic toll for trucks. The money collected would be used for financing motorway and road construction and maintenance through the government's Transport Fund. Transport Minister Milan Simonovsky was quoted as saying that the system would not only monitor the cargo, but also the movement of the vehicle throughout the country to collect money for the use of roads more efficiently. Mr. Simonovsky said such a system has not yet been introduced anywhere, although Austria and Germany are about to start testing similar schemes. The Transport Ministry has been looking for ways to secure financial sources for the Transport Fund which until now has relied on revenues from privatisation of state assets.