PM Fiala promotes Czech aviation and defense interests in Philippines

On the first stop of his 10-day Asian tour, Fiala said Czech defense and aviation firms seek to expand their exports to the Philippines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.04.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 18.04.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech companies can offer innovative and effective solutions to the Philippines, for example in the fields of aviation, defense industry, logistics, and transport, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at the opening of a business forum in Manila yesterday. He recalled that Czech companies have a tradition in the country, with the shoe company Baťa opening its factory in the Philippines about 90 years ago.

Fiala and representatives of about 30 Czech companies are on a 10-day trip to six Asian countries. They will also go to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

"The economic importance of the Indo-Pacific region is enormous, it is the fastest-growing region in the world. It is important for us to be engaged in these countries and support activities of our firms there," Fiala said when he departed.

Participating Czech businesses include aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody, the Omnipol group, the Excalibur Army arms company, which specializes in the production, development, and repair of military equipment, and the STV Group, which produces ammunition.

Hopes for more Filipino workers in Czechia

Before leaving for the trip, Fiala recalled that Czech exports to the Philippines last year reached USD 55 million dollars (over CZK 1.1 billion), while goods worth USD 600 million were imported from the Philippines to Czechia. "I want to support projects in the country that will help increase this volume but above all on the export side," Fiala said.

Czech Chamber of Commerce president Vladimír Dlouhý sees the Philippines as a promising country for business cooperation. "It is a country in Southeast Asia that has more than 100 million inhabitants, has had relatively solid economic growth in the last two years, and is open to foreign investment," Dlouhý said in Manila on Monday.

He added that several sectors are of interest, such as defense. "They are primarily tied to American arms supplies, however, they are interested in some of our supplies, be it Colt CZ in the area of handguns, aircraft, or supplies for aircraft, the company Excalibur is also here. Then there is agriculture and food, energy and infrastructure, but we have, for example, Ms. [Zuzana] Petrofová, an exporter of pianos, who has a relatively large market in the Philippines," he added.

Fiala and Dlouhý also mentioned the intention to increase the number of Filipino workers in the Czech Republic. Dlouhý said Czechia lacks, among other things, qualified craftsmen, truck and bus drivers, construction workers, and people in the services sector.

Filipino workers in construction and services have a good international reputation, Dlouhý said. A greater influx of workers from the Philippines is hindered by numerical limits set by the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added.

Construction in Singapore, trams in Central Asia

In Indonesia, Fiala wants to support Czech companies in the sphere of digitization and there is also a potential in the planned construction of a new capital city. In Singapore, Fiala would like to negotiate about investments of local firms in Czechia and more cooperation in science and research.

In Vietnam, there are opportunities in the automotive and defense industries. In the Central Asian countries, he would like to talk about deliveries of Czech trains and trams. In Kazakhstan, oil deliveries will also be on the agenda.

Fiala said state support for Czech export companies is important across the world in general. However, in Asia, it is of special significance. "The Indo-Pacific and Central Asia regions have importance for the Czech Republic not only from the business perspective but also for strategical reasons," he said. He previously said these countries might become a counterbalance to China in foreign trade.

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