Prague Castle Plans Zeman’s Grand Journey to China

Prague Castle Plans Zeman’s Grand Journey to China

Chinese market is important for PPF and Skoda Auto therefore we welcome the political support of business in China.


The Grand People Palace in Beijing welcomes the head of the Czech Republic after ten years in autumn. It will happen only for the second time in modern history that the Czech President will meet his Chinese counterpart on his own ground.

“Our President obtained the invitation which was presented by deputy Song Tao at welcome party of CzechChinese Investment Forum and we would like to take the full advantage of it in the context of the celebration of this year’s 65th anniversary of bilateral relations,” told to HN the head of Foreign affairs department of Prague castle Hynek Kmonicek.

According to Kmonicek’s opinion, the expedition to China will not be the first opportunity for Milos Zeman to meet Si Tin-Pching: “The first opportunity for informal meeting of the presidents will be the opening ceremony of Olympic Games in Sochi.”

Zeman’s expedition to China and his welcoming at the highest level is a good news for ranks of Czech companies.

Unlike European market, the Asian one is growing even at the period of financial crisis. Asian clients are of increasing importance for Skoda Auto Mlada Boleslav, PPF group wants to expand with Home Credit, etc.

“In stable democracies the govermental support of business is not so important but in authoritarian countries it is reversely. Also China is a hard country where you have to break through hard, if the goverments are not at good terms, it harms firms,” says Radek Spicar, the vice-president of the Confederation of Industry and Transport and former top manager for Skoda. Petr Kolar, former Czech ambassador in Moscow who worked last year as an emissary of PPF in China, says similarly: “At least the fact that the highest representative of state, the head of state, is coming for an official visit is of special meaning. As well as the other side is giving a special message through its invitation.”

The first Czech president who visited China was Vaclav Klaus in 2004. On the contrary, his predecessor Vaclav Havel persistently criticised its communist regime. Zeman emphasises like Klaus that human rights defence must not harm Czech economic interests. The Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok claims the same. The government under his rule aimed to upgrade the relations with China as well as with Russia. “I aimed to restart Czech-Chinese relations because after some episodes during the ex-Prime Minister Jan Fischer’s and above all  during ex-minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwanzenberg’s period the relations were not the best,” declared Rusnok in an interview for HN.

Defenders of close co-operation with China have strong word in leaving cabinet because Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Kohout is the former head of the Czech China Chamber of Collaboration and the Prime minister’s councellor for relations with China is Jaroslav Tvrdik who is the founder of above mentioned chamber.

Hospodářské noviny – HN (Czech Economic News)  21 January 2014, page 1