US Secreatry of State Hilary Clinton announced in a meeting with her Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg, that the US is willing to start talks on a new bilateral investment treaty. Prague has long been demanding a new deal, saying the existing agreement from 1991 is one-sided and helps land the country with costly arbitration cases. The Finance Ministry had been threatening to ditch the current agreement unless Washington started talks.
American Chamber of Commerce director Weston Stacey says corruption and political instability are scaring off foreign investors from the Czech Republic with the country falling short of its full potential. Instead, the tarnished reputation is drawing in dirty money from international criminals.
Most Czechs agree that the current bilateral investment treaty with the US is tipped in favor of American investors and opens Prague up to expensive arbitration proceedings. But Ministry of Finance moves to cancel the current deal to get something better are running into opposition in the US and from US business interests here. Support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been tepid as well.