Tensions fail to topple Russia from position as top export target

Photo: athewma / freeimages

Russia tops the list of countries where Czech exporters would like to boost their sales according to an evaluation drawing on approaches for help to Czech institutions abroad. But Ukraine has slipped sharply down the rankings as tension continues in the east of the country.

Photo: athewma / freeimages
Czech interest in doing business with Russia has hardly dimmed in spite of the ongoing tension with EU countries over the situation in Ukraine.

Around 30 percent of Czech exporters are seeking information about conditions for doing business in Russia, according to one of the country’s biggest business lobbies, the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic. This makes Russia the top target for Czech exporters.

The results are based on the results of consultations between economic staff at Czech embassies, the foreign outposts of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and CzechTrade with the representatives of 380 local companies.

On the other hand, the former strong business interest in Ukraine has plummeted as a result of the crisis there. Before the crisis, Ukraine was the third most sought after target for business information and advice for Czech companies. It has now dropped out of the top ten, according to the confederation. One in six Czech companies are now looking at the export prospects in neighbouring Belarus, it said.

China, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan, are still among the top five targets for Czech exports and export interest. Testimony to Vietnam’s continuing attractiveness is the fact that many Czech firms arrange visits to the country off their own bat or as part of delegations put together by the confederation, it added.

Export interest is also strong in India, the United States, South Africa, and Turkey. Around a sixth of Czech exporters list Turkey on their target list with a slightly lower 13 percent expressing interest in Israel. Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran are broadly on a par with Israel. In spite of its current problems, one in 10 Czech exporters still sees Iraq as a potential market but troubled Libya and Syria are for the greater part off the radar at the moment.

In Europe, around a firth of companies sought information about exports to the Czech Republic’s biggest single trade partner, Germany. Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and France were also subject to strong interest. And Britain for the first time featured in the top 10 countries for Czech export interest, the confederation said.

At the government level, the Czech Republic has taken a cautious stance during the Crimea and Ukraine crises over what penalties should be imposed on Russia, marking it out from the much tougher line with Moscow adopted by Poland.

Czech State Secretary for European Affairs, Tomáš Prouza warned in an interview with the business daily, Hospodářské Noviny, published on Friday that Russia could reply with a 10 times longer list of sanctioned products if the European Union decides to widen the sanctions agreed on so far. Replacing Russia on the Ministry of Industry and Trade list of top Czech export promotion targets is not under discussion at the moment, he added.