Press Advisories

17. 1. 2019 15:30

Prime Minister Babiš concluded his visit to Thailand: I think we have done our best to make our companies successful here

Česká delegace v královském paláci, 17. ledna 2019.
Česká delegace v královském paláci, 17. ledna 2019.
On Thursday, 17 January 2018, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš concluded his visit to the Kingdom of Thailand and together with the Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Nováková and the business delegation, he flew to Ahmadabad, India. On the second day of the Thailand visit, the main item on the agenda was the participation in the Thai-Czech Business Seminar, where Prime Minister Babiš supported the further development of trade and economic relations between the two countries.

The business seminar at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok was co-organized by the Federation of Thai Industry (FTI) and the Czech Confederation of Industry. In his speech before the entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Babiš stressed that he considered it an exceptional event, organized on the occasion of the first visit of the Czech Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Thailand. “The diplomatic relations between our countries have a long tradition dating back 45 years”, said the Prime Minister and noted that already in 1932 the famous Czechoslovak company Baťa opened its factory in Siam and in the 1930s Škoda built the first modern sugar refinery.

At present, both countries cooperate very closely, Thailand is the Czech Republic’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. The visit of the Czech Prime Minister and a business delegation made up of representatives of nearly 40 companies aims to intensify these relations. “We want to boost our mutual business to a new level – from simple business relationships to more complex and sophisticated forms such as investment, technology exchange, science and research, joint ventures or innovative projects”, said the Prime Minister.

According to Prime Minister Babiš, it is time to stop seeing Thailand as a place for exotic holidays – it is a country with very skilled people with whom we can cooperate on concrete projects and who want to keep up with latest developments and new technologies. The Czech side also has an enormous interest in balancing the current unbalanced trade balance, as Thai imports into the Czech Republic are currently far higher than imports.

Therefore, on the second day of the visit, the Prime Minister had an informal discussion with the representatives of Thai companies. “They generally recognize Czech know-how and are interested in sharing experience”, said Andrej Babiš. He again highlighted the defence industry as a significant component of mutual relations, where a wide range of cooperation opportunities are opened for Czech arms producers. “I think we have done our best to make our companies successful here. I don’t think anyone could have done more. Now it’s up to them to close the deals”, said the Prime Minister.

In the afternoon local time, the Prime Minister also talked with the top management of Thai AirAsia. “Of course, they mainly service this region, but they also operate long-distance flights to Korea, China or Japan. So far they have no connections to Europe. I received a public promise from the owner that by Christmas Thai AirAsia would open a direct Bangkok–Prague air service. The flight would take about ten and a half hours”, Babiš said after the meeting. The company would fly to Prague every day.

Opening a direct line with Prague would support tourism and also facilitate business contacts between Czech and Thai companies. “Today, about 50,000 Thai people arrive in the Czech Republic. Approximately 40,000 Czech travel to Thailand. Certainly it would make a significant mutual contribution to tourism and business, and it would be the first service of this company to Europe. They want Prague to become a hub, so they are going to look for a suitable partner who will then connect their passengers to other destinations such as Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Of course, we are interested in this”, the Prime Minister stated, adding that the Thai partners will come to Prague for several weeks to deal with the administrative requirements, for example with the Ministry of Transport or CzechTourism.

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