The Czech government has repeatedly declared the upmost importance and policy priority of supporting Czech exports to countries outside the EU. It is apparently concerned about the quality of services provided by the state to Czech exporters attempting to penetrate into new world markets. The reality is, however, somewhat different: it appears the prime concern is securing lucrative jobs in the state sphere and control of billions of crowns.
Implementation of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade’s new export strategy has claimed its first major scalp, that of the general director of the export promotions agency CzechTrade. Ivan Jukl is said to have left following disagreement over the new strategy giving the ministry a bigger direct say and role in boosting foreign trade.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba (ODS) proudly unveiled his proposal for economic diplomacy to play a key role in boosting exports and diversifying sales abroad to reduce dependence on a struggling Europe. But he failed to get the foreign ministry on board beforehand — and it has a long list of complaints about allegedly major flaws in Kuba’s proposal.
Following years of debate over what form state support for exports should take, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has a concept based on a model proven in Scandinavia. Instead of presenting goods at international trade fairs, Czech export promotion will concentrate on finding opportunities in global trends and problems and encourage Czech manufacturers and producers to develop appropriate solutions.
Chinese entrepreneurs came up with the idea. If everything works out, the Czech Republic won’t pay a single crown for a new Shanghai-based Czech House (Český dům) — a state-sponsored center serving as a contact point between investors and Czech institutions. The question remains whether having representation in the most populous Chinese city would prompt Czech entrepreneurs to enage more with China.
CzechTrade and CzechInvest are the two main support structures operated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to help companies looking to expand their business. CzechInvest helps foreign firms to establish offices and factories in the Czech Republic. CzechTrade, on the other hand, helps to pair up Czech companies with foreign business partners.