Business News


In Business news this week: Climbing the rankings of competitive nations; why Czechs are making so much plastic; a quarter of Czech children posess bank accounts; film producers angry about lack of progress of tax-incentives and Škoda wins a bid to continue to supply police-cars in the country.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have both managed to climb up the ladder of world competitiveness according to the International Institute for Management Development. Newly released 2007 rankings from the Swiss organization put the Czech Republic in 28th place in terms of global competitiveness, a four point improvement on the previous year. Meanwhile, Slovakia has also moved up from 34th to 30th. According to the IMD, 331 various factors are used to rate a country’s competitiveness, including the strength of the labour force and internal politics. The Czech Republic’s improved rating is partially attributed to a continually strong crown.

A study by a major banking company in the Czech Republic has revealed that a quarter of the country’s children possess bank accounts. The study has found that parents are eager to set up bank accounts for their children so that they can save for later in life. A third of those children with bank accounts have them established between birth and their reaching five years of age. Bank accounts for the under 15s are offered by most banks in the country.

The Czech Republic leads the European Union in terms of the growth of its plastic production market, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat. Figures reveal that in 2006, the Czech Republic increased plastic production by 15.3 percent, while growing by only 4 percent in the EU. Most of the Czech Republic’s plastic production goes into the making of various wrappings, with a large part also used in the automotive industry and also construction. Czechs are heavy users of plastics – about sixty kilograms per person annually, but the old EU15 still tops that with a figure of 90kg. Plastic production in the country is expected to tail off in the future, as oil prices rise and the global economic slowdown reduces demand.

The car maker Škoda has won a tender to continue supplying cars to the Czech police force. The company must now provide 3,500 cars to the service for its promised fee of 1,1 billion crowns. Two other companies – Volkswagen (which itself pens Škoda )- and Renault lost out in the bid, because they made higher priced offers.

International film producers operating in the Czech Republic are up in arms about the government’s failure to approve a series of incentives or tax-breaks to help the country compete with emerging film locations such as Hungary. The measures, which would offset the rising costs of filming in the country, partly caused by a weak dollar and strong crown, have been stalled for weeks. The Czech government insists it is taking the prospect of a collapse of international production in the country seriously, but any incentives will take time to formulate and approve.