Prague is a major tourist attraction in the Czech Republic. Photo courtesy of the embassy
On the occasion of the Czech Republic's National Day (October 28), Ambassador Vitezslav Grepl sends a message to Việt Nam News to celebrate the day and share the country’s economic and tourism potential
The Czech Republic is a beautiful country situated in the centre of the Europe. It has always been a crossroad of trade routes, and a place to encounter of people of different nationalities, beliefs, experiences and skills. All these factors have been influencing and shaping my country and its people. The Czech Republic, a union of several historical territories - Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia - is nowadays the youngest form of the Czech state, which has existed for almost 1,200 years.
What is the Czech Republic, or Czechia today? Well, to start with its a promising land car-making, crystal, music, literature, film, beer, uncounted world-class sportsmen and Nobel Prize winners. But it is much more than that. It is a modern democratic country with a high standard of living and quality of life, a home to free and confident people, whose economic prosperity, social cohesion and national security is guaranteed by the European Union and NATO, and by the Czechs themselves.
Czechia is the seventh safest country in the world, and a developed export-oriented economy with the lowest unemployment rate in the EU and the second lowest poverty rate among OECD members, and has been described by many economic analysts as one of Europe’s most flourishing economies.
The positive economic situation in Czechia has also been recently reflected in higher credit ratings from top international rating agencies and the credibility of the Czech economy has reached the same level as that of Japan and South Korea.
The relationship between Czech and Vietnamese people has been more than extraordinary for the last seven decades. In 1950, Czechoslovakia was only the third country in the world to recognise Việt Nam.
It is safe to say that Czechia has successfully continued this legacy of cordial relations, based on mutual respect, understanding, trust, support and co-operation. Today, almost 100,000 Vietnamese nationals reside in Czechia. Given that history, I could easily call the present stage of Czech-Vietnamese relations “a golden age”. Clear proof of that is the frequency of top political visits. Prime Ministers of both countries met three times this year and another visit by the Czech PM to Việt Nam is scheduled for next year. Direct flights between Hà Nội and Prague are expected to be operational at the beginning of 2020, and will greatly boost our bilateral co-operation in virtually every aspect of relations.
Economic co-operation is the most dynamic field of our bilateral ties. Our trade has been growing steadily and its volume has exceeded US$1 billion. Last year, exports from Czechia reached $140 million, while exports from Việt Nam hit more than $1.03 billion. Czech businesses have already invested more than $90 million in 30 projects in Việt Nam and I believe this positive trend will continue. Co-operation in science, R&D and innovation is a new promising field. The Czech Technology Agency together with the Science and Technology Agency of Việt Nam are currently working on joint research projects, which will help to create new links between our economies.
The defence industry is another important pillar of our economic relations. We are glad that Czechia has been able to help Việt Nam modernise its armed forces and enhance its defence capabilities. As a traditional producer and exporter of defence technologies, Czechia is ready to continue its co-operation with Việt Nam not only in the field of technology supplies, but also in the training of military personnel.
The EU- Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement, signed in June, will have wide-ranging impacts on our bilateral trade and investment thanks to tariff cuts and strong commitments both from the EU and Việt Nam. Both parties will hugely benefit from an expected increase in the trade of goods promoted by reduction or elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The EVFTA will put an end to 99 per cent of customs duties on goods traded between Czechia and Việt Nam. Isn´t that more than promising?
Do you still wonder why a country lying right in the heart of Europe is so proud of what it is? When you visit Czechia, prepare to experience friendliness, creativity, culture, historic towns and amazing diversity. My advice is: Don’t hesitate and find out yourself why the Czechs are so popular and truly unique in Việt Nam and across the world. I wish you a pleasant journey!