Czech Republic holds promise for Singapore businesses

Strong interest in the Singapore – Czech Republic Business Forum 2019 underscored impact of the recently-signed EUSFTA

Following the signing of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) in October 2018, Singapore companies can now leverage the trade pact to capitalise on opportunities in EU markets, including those in Central and Eastern Europe. One promising market is the fast-growing Czech Republic, which has developed expertise in high-tech industries such as research and development, ICT and software development, among others.

Business ties between the two countries received a boost as the largest ever Czech business delegation arrived in Singapore, in conjunction with the official visit of His Excellency Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, from 14 to 15 January 2019.

As part of the two-day programme, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic organised the Singapore–Czech Republic Business Forum 2019, which was held on 15 January. Around 120 business leaders participated in the event, which aimed to facilitate deeper exchanges between companies from high technology manufacturing, automated industrial systems, defence manufacturing, medical technology and construction materials manufacturing.

Pictured left to right: Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of Singapore Business Federation; Mr Stanislav Kázecký, Vice President, Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic; Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education; HE Mr Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of Czech Republic; and HE Ms Marta Nováková, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic

In his welcome remarks at the Forum, SBF CEO Mr Ho Meng Kit noted that both nations enjoy a warm bilateral relationship underpinned by strong trade linkages. In 2017, the Czech Republic was Singapore’s 18th largest trading partner in the EU, with total trade registering 1.1 billion Czech Koruna.

“Singapore companies can leverage benefits in the EUSFTA to tap the growing digital expertise of Czech companies through digital ventures in the areas of high technology manufacturing, defence and industrial systems, and also explore collaboration on Government procurement projects,” he said.

He added that there are already a handful of Czech Republic companies using Singapore as their ASEAN headquarters, and that with the trade agreement in place, there would be greater impetus for Czech companies to use Singapore as a springboard to access opportunities in the region.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education, Mr Chee Hong Tat, addressed the two business communities at the forum.