Czech Republic and China ink investment boosting memorandum
Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has signed a memorandum of understanding between the Czech and Chinese governments. The main theme of the memorandum is for the two countries to support China’s worldwide trade and investment initiative “One Belt, One Road.” But there are also hints that the Czech Republic could be given special treatment in key other areas.
The land route skirts the north of the Czech Republic but does not go through it. But there seem to be hopes in Prague that Central European and more particularly Czech transport projects might get a boost by feeding into this massive plan.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka highlighted on his ongoing Chinese visit the possible boost that could be given to high speed rail connections, something the Czech Republic is currently patently lacking even between its two main cities, Prague and Brno. This is what he told Czech Television:
The Czech-Chinese memorandum signed on Thursday is wide ranging. It talks about increased possible cooperation not just in rail infrastructure but also over roads, nuclear energy, telecommunications, car manufacturing, aircraft production, and engineering. It also looks to boost cooperation in research and development with nanotechnology, laser technology, pharmaceuticals production, and biotechnology picked out for particular attention. These are areas where the Czech Republic has had some significant success.
The memorandum gives a nod to the Czech ambition to become a regional center for Chinese investment. Specific steps are highlighted to make this possible, such as finding a clearing mechanism for the Chinese currency, the Renminbi, in the Czech Republic.
But the Czech ambition to become a regional financial centre for the Chinese has some economists and analysts scratching their heads. One of those is Jan Bureš, the chief economist at Czech bank Poštovní Spořitelna.
Jan Bureš though has no doubt that high earning Chinese companies and banks are seeking new investment opportunities outside their crowded domestic market.