The Czech Republic could face trade sanctions from Saudi Arabia over anti-Islamic remarks by President Miloš Zeman, the Czech foreign minister says. Mr Zeman’s comments, linking terrorism to “Islamic ideology” were also condemned by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation but its demands for an apology have been rejected by the Czech head of state.
President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have agreed that in line with economic growth the state should increase investment in public projects. Mr Zeman, coming off a three-day tour of the Liberec region, said he and the finance minister would meet for talks in the coming days. The Liberec region welcomed the idea of increased funds, such as the planned renovation of local roads and infrastructure. The Transport Minister Antonín Prachař is also to take part in the talks. One problem is that not all projects are developed far enough to be eligible for funding at this point, the Czech News Agency writes.
Foreign companies are increasingly taking their profits out of the Czech Republic, with the country’s figures in this respect considerably worse than those of neighbouring states. Last year over CZK 300 billion of profits left the country, twice the figure seen 10 years ago, the business daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday.
The Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek is heading for China on Friday night at the head of a delegation of around 30 businessmen and officials. Mládek is due to meet top Chinese officials as well as the leaders of some of the most prosperous provinces. The trip is aimed at not only boosting Czech exports to China but also at trying to stimulate Chinese investment in the Czech Republic, which is currently minimal. The minister added that he hoped for a breakthrough in talks aimed at establishing direct flights from Prague to China with the goal of services to Beijing or Shanghai being launched within 12 months. The centre-left government has sought to reset relations with China by downgrading support for occupied Tibet.
Prague’s Opencard electronic card system will remain working as it is until at least the end of this month after the city authorities reached a deal with the company that operates it. There had been a threat that the firm eMoneyServices would stop issuing new cards from June 18. The two sides are in dispute over the cost of the service and councilors have threatened to do away with the Opencard entirely and return to paper travel passes only. Prague’s transport authority has said if no agreement on continuing with the card is reached it would be ready to have a paper ticket only system in place within weeks. eMoneyServices has significantly reduced its original price for continuing to operate the Opencard and talks with City Hall are still taking place. The card is used for transport and other services.
State incentives have been cleared for the Danish firm Lego to invest 1.73 billion crowns in the extension of its plant at Kladno on the outskirts of Prague. The government aid totals 46 million, around 5.0 percent of the total spending on the project to add production, warehouse, and administrative space to the current site. Around 600 extra jobs should be created by the time the work is completed in 2017.
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