What are the benefits of a Taiwan delegation visit to Czechia?

Miloš Vystrčil, Joseph Wu

This week marked the visit of Taiwan’s largest ever trade mission to the Czech Republic. Aside from awards and speeches that praised the two countries’ close relationship, five memoranda and six cooperation agreements were signed relating to various technology sectors, including electro mobility, AI and, perhaps most importantly, chip manufacturing.

The Czech Republic is one of the top five most interesting technology investment partners of Taiwan in Europe, according to the Chairman of the Czech-Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce Pavel Diviš. He told Czech Radio that last year’s visit by a Czech delegation to Taiwan, which was led by Senate Speaker Miloš Vystčil, helped increase sympathies between the two countries while also boosting trust for potential business cooperation.

“Taiwan is a democratic country with an open, export focused economy. Its industry is based around small and medium sized enterprises, which make up 85 percent of Taiwan’s economy.

“This makes Taiwan a very similar economy to our own, which in turn means that it is easy for us to connect small, specialised businesses that are particularly interested in technology.”

Members of the Taiwanese business mission met with their Czech counterparts this week to discuss potential areas of technological cooperation. Chips were especially in the centre of focus for the Czech side as the country’s car manufacturing sector, like that in the rest of Europe, is being forced to halt production due to an international chip shortage.

Taiwan, which houses the world’s most valuable semiconductor company, is seen as potentially highly useful source of knowhow for Czechia and Europe at large.

Pavel Diviš told Czech Radio that the Czech Republic is among the few countries in Europe that were able to host Taiwanese producers and manufacturers of semiconductors.

“They came to find out how we are doing and what is our state of readiness. Our association assembled relevant Czech manufacturers who could become a component of this subcontractor technology chain. In other words, the first step was successful.

“There is no deadline for a decision, but we should make sure to send a business and technology delectation to Taiwan again and continue with talks.”

Pavel Fischer, who was one of the Senators that joined the Czech delegation that travelled to Taiwan last year, told Czech Radio that semiconductors were not the only important area of technology cooperation discussed.

“There is also potential for cooperation in space technologies and 5G networks, another important component for achieving prosperity and the rule of law.

“Also, on the EU level, the time has come to start negotiating an investment agreement. Last week, MPs in the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution for cooperation with Taiwan. There is a Europe-wide, if not world-wide, interest in Taiwan.”

Closer relations with Taiwan also mean a potential for the further cooling of relations with China, something of which Czechs were reminded earlier this week, when the Chinese Embassy in Prague issued a condemnation of the Czech Senate’s decision to host the Chinese delegation and threatened countermeasures.

However, Pavel Diviš says that there is relatively little threat for Czech companies to conduct business with Taiwan.

“I think that the average Czech business does not need to be concerned. China’s behaviour is a standard case of economic blackmail for political reasons. China basically can’t hurt us in this regard. However, large trade deals, on which China has political influence, are under threat.”