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Last updated : Nov 2009
Czech Republic Business
Czech Republic Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Czech Republic Economy

Under Soviet control, the former Czechoslovak economy was subject to a high level of state control, lacking the small-scale private enterprise that existed to some extent in all other Eastern European economies. In the aftermath of the Prague Spring economic development was concentrated for political reasons on heavy industry. In the immediate post-Soviet era at the beginning of the 1990s, these inefficient and redundant industrial monoliths appeared to be an impediment to the growth of the economy. The other problem was the lack of natural resources – the country relied heavily on the former Soviet Union for most of its raw materials, especially oil.

After a time of political and economic crisis, ending with the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics and a dispute with the Soviets over oil supplies, the Czech government plied ahead with a rapid programme of market reforms, including mass privatisation and a major overhaul of the country’s financial system.

The Government identified priority industries for development and these included: aircraft and vehicles, nuclear energy, electronics, gasification of coal, transport and communications, as well as light industries such as textiles, ceramics, leather, glass, a variety of agricultural and service industries.

Although more than three-quarters of economic output is now in private hands, the government retains a major influence through minority shareholdings and state-owned banks (which in turn own some of the major corporations) in the economy. The results have been good, with the exception of a mild recession in 1997-98.

The Czech Republic has recorded steady growth within a sound fiscal and monetary environment. The high value of the koruna (which has impeded export growth) and damage caused by serious flooding during 2002 has slowed growth to under 2 per cent as of early 2003. The country has negotiated associate membership with the European Union and in 1998 began the process of negotiation to enter the EU. The Czech Republic joined the EU, along with nine other countries, at the beginning of 2004. Trade links with Austria and Germany in particular, and with the EU generally, have grown considerably. The Czech Republic has already joined the membership of the IMF, World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Business

Business people should wear suits. German is useful as English is not widely spoken among the older generation. Long business lunches are normal. Avoid making business visits during July and August as many are closed for holidays.

Office hours: Monday-Friday 08:00-16:00.

Commercial Information

The Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic (HKCR), Freyova 27, 190 00 Prague 9 (telephone: (2) 2409 6111; fax: (2) 2409 6222; email: info@komora.cz)

Conferences and Conventions

The Prague International Congress Centre can accomodate up to 15,000 people. There are also facilities in hotels throughout the country. Trade fairs are held in the city of Brno. Information can be obtained from the Brno Trade Fairs and Exhibitions, Výstaviste 1, 647 00 Brno (telephone: (5) 4115 1111; fax: (5) 4115 3070; email: info@bvv.cz)