The Czech Republic wants to expand its trade with Russia, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Jiri Havlicek said in Yekaterinburg as part of the delegation of the Czech President Milos Zeman. According to the minister, about 80% of Czech trade is focused on the markets of the European Union.
“Our goal is to diversify our foreign trade, and from this point of view, Russia is one of the main trading partners, besides the EU,” he said. “After the crisis, we see that our trade with Russia is developing very well. In comparison with the previous year, it grew by more than 30%,” he added.
Havlicek noted that his visit to Russia together with Zeman was aimed at maintaining ties between Russian and Czech companies. “A good example of our cooperation is the GRS Ural company, where the Czech experience of production is applied,” he added. The Minister also stressed that the Czech Republic seeks to develop cooperation not only with Russia, but also with the markets of other countries. “It is very important that we do not focus only on one market, we need opportunities to export to other markets,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told visiting Czech counterpart Zeman in late November that bilateral relations are developing “despite all difficulties, among other things thanks to your efforts.” Putin said the volume of bilateral trade grew by more than 40% in the first nine months of the year following a decline in the previous years.
Ahead of the meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin “values the interest that [Zeman] is showing in developing Russian-Czech relations. This interest is very spectacular in Europe in general.”
Amid a deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West over the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Syrian civil war, and other issues, Zeman has expressed support for Russia and Putin, raising some concerns among the Czech government and Western allies.
The Czech Republic was Russia’s 18th largest trading partner in the Q2’17 (up from 20th in the Q2’16), accounting for 1.3387% of Russia’s total trade (up from 1.1734% in the 2nd quarter of 2016).