KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between the Czech Republic and Malaysia is expected to increase this year following an improved trade performance by both countries by 25 per cent in the first half of 2017 (1H2017).
Czech Republic's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Tlapa, said the encouraging development was due to the enhanced cooperation and partnership agreements by corporations in both countries.
"Last year, we have recorded a mutual trade turnover of US$1.16 billion (US$1 = RM4.21) where this data has remained about the same over the last couple of years.
"But this year, following the improvement in the 1H2017, we are hoping that it will reach up to US$1.5 billion, buoyed by trade activities mainly in machinery, building industries equipment and green technology which are gaining more traction," he told Bernama during his visit to the Czech Republic's pavilion at the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2017) here today.
In 2016, Czech's exports to Malaysia stood at US$186.7 million, comprising mainly electronic circuits and automated controlling devices, chemical compounds and tyres, while imports from Malaysia were at US$975.8 million with electronic and semiconductors components and natural rubber mainly made the bulk of the trade.
Tlapa said as Malaysia was gaining surplus in the bilateral trade, he also hoped that the country would see the potentials of Czech as its gateway into penetrating the central Europe markets.
"This is because we are among the fastest-growing economies in the European Union (EU) (second quarter year on year by 4.5 per cent).
"We aim to further explore various fields with South-East Asia markets like Malaysia on environmental and cleaning technology, infrastructure, defense and the medical sectors as we the competitive advantage over these fields," said Tlapa stating that Czech has been part of the EU since 2004.
On signing of a free trade agreement with Malaysia, Tlapa said, discussions had been initiated by the European Commision (EC) including on the efforts to remove the non-tariff barriers.
"The EC will meet the Malaysian government soon to elaborate on the substance which we also hope will discuss the possibility of a visa waiver to enhance our connections in business and tourism," he said.
At the event, eight companies from electronics to renewable energy and one university from the Czech Republic took part in IGEM 2017.
The region’s go-green technology platform, organised by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and co-organised by Malaysian Green Technology Corp, is held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Oct 11-13 featuring 320 exhibitor booths. - Bernama