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7.-11.10. 2019

International Engineering Fair

Export conference on Great Britain's trade policy after Brexit


The title "Great Britain - the Fourth Largest Business Partner of the Czech Republic", belonged to a conference that was held at the International Engineering Fair, indicating the direction of British trade policy after Brexit. The first part of the conference was focused on Czech-British relations, the second to business opportunities. The meeting was also attended by the British Ambassador to the Czech Republic, H.E. Jan Thompson, and the Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the UK Department of Commerce, Dominic Meiklejohn.

"Many people in the Czech Republic ask me if Britain really leaves the European Union. The answer is yes, the British voters have decided and I have no serious signals that this should not be true. We expect that on 30 March 2019, the UK will cease to be a member of the EU. I would like to point out that we are leaving the EU, but not Europe. We are proud to be Europeans," the British Ambassador said.

As mentioned at the conference, a two-year deadline for settlement of past commitments is running until 29 March 2019. The UK government's priority is to negotiate a "new, unique, comprehensive economic partnership" that should apply from the end of the transitional period. The UK does not want to join the European Economic Area or want a similar trade agreement such as the one between the EU and Canada.

The European Union wants to reach an agreement in the current first phase of the negotiations on the main elements of the United Kingdom's departure from the EU - citizens' rights, financial settlements and the situation of Ireland. Negotiations on the new framework of relations, including EU trade, are preferable only in Phase 2, with EU27 prime ministers deciding on the transition to Phase 2. The European Council meets on 19 October and 14 December. In order to have time for ratification, it is necessary to negotiate an exit agreement and a possible transitional period until November 2018.

"For the Czech Republic, Great Britain’s departure is a considerable loss in a number of areas. The country has been an ally in many negotiations, for example on free trade issues. We will strive to have close business relations with Britain even in the future, but we will have to get used to the fact that Czech companies will lose some benefits on the UK market and will have to refocus on bilateral instruments," said Vladimír Bärtl, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, preferring to discuss new markets rather than Brexit. "But Brexit is a reality," he added.

Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa deliberated on the idea of the opportunities that Brexit may hold for the Czech Republic. Among other things, he mentioned that the UK has announced investments in infrastructure, which may be an opportunity for Czech companies as subcontractors for major projects, for example in the field of nuclear energy. The United Kingdom wants to be a strong player on the global market, therefore even subcontractors may benefit from better access to these markets.

"EU-UK relations are so crucial to both sides that an agreement needs to be reached. We do not have one yet, and thus we have to wait for the outcome of the negotiations. I see great danger in the Czech Republic not understanding why the UK has left the EU. It is not just a British problem, it is a European problem. Reflection is crucial, it concerns us and it is missing here," said Martin Tlapa, who continues to see Great Britain as an important business partner of the Czech Republic, but also as a key ally in security issues.

Three other lectures focused on the development of business relationships from different angles. Dominic Meiklejohn talked about what the Department for International Trade is doing in 108 countries, and how it helps companies in the UK market. He also mentioned the great.gov.uk web site and the British Chamber of Commerce activities, which has been operating in the Czech Republic since 1997 and associates with 200 Czech, British and international companies. Currently, MSV can also be the place to get information from representatives of CzechTrade at the Export House in the outdoor area K. The next speaker, Jan Procházka, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the EGAP insurance company, who have been insuring exports for more than CZK 800 billion for 25 years, talked about EGAP's involvement in the UK, and mentioned several examples of cooperation with Lloyd's in the case of financing projects with Czech participation, for example in Belarus or Romania.

At the end of the first section, economy diplomat Aleš Opatrný from the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London stated several recent figures on the state of the British economy as well as the Czech exports, which was, particularly thanks to the automotive products (cars, motor vehicle components, sensors and sensors) on record-breaking levels in 2016 (CZK 206 billion). He also spoke more about Britain's trade policy after Brexit, about opportunities arising from partnerships with British companies, and about specific events to support Czech exports next year, such as stands at the All Energy (May), a presentation of Czech nanotechnologies (June), Czech Beer Day and Farnborough International Air Show (July), Automotive Suppliers Day and CZ ICT start-ups in London (September), Presentation of Czech Health Technologies, Czech Glass (October) and Advanced Engineering, TBC (November).

The second part of the meeting included a discussion with Aleš Opatrný on business opportunities and was attended by Filip Franěk and Petr Karel from the British Chamber of Commerce, Robert David from Allen & Overy, David Alan Shore of TIME 24 LIMITED and Jaroslav Kuneš, Chief Financial Officer of SIPRAL, as well as.

Datum: 11 Oct 2017 12:54:00

Concurrently with

Transport and Logistics
7.-11.10. 2019

7.-11.10. 2019


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