Representatives of the Czech government met with important Japanese investors operating in the Czech Republic on 27 March 2015. The Japanese investors informed the government officials of what they see as the biggest barriers to development of their activities here. The meeting was organised by the Japanese trade and investment support agency JETRO and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and CzechInvest.
Czech President Miloš Zeman also spoke to representatives of the ToyotaPeugeot CitroenAutomobile Czech, DENSO ManufacturingCzech, PanasonicAutomotive Systems Czech, Daikin IndustriesCzech Republic and many other.
“Our two countries have a long history of commercial cooperation and the Japanese are among the most significant investors in the Czech Republic. Currently, 223 Japanese firms are operating here, employing more than 44,000 people. There are a number of factors that Japanese investors value here, though they also see major potential for improvement,” says Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek.
“Japanese investors greatly appreciate the fact that the government and Czech authorities listen to them and are trying to take a helpful approach while improving the conditions for doing business here. The possible risks that they see here include a potential shortage of skilled labour and frequent changes of legislation, particularly of the tax laws. They would also welcome faster development of the infrastructure and public transport to meet the needs of employees, especially in the regions,” says Karel Kučera, CEO of CzechInvest, recounting some of the topics discussed during the meeting.
Another problem is the strong competition in certain sectors, whereas firms are siphoning off trained employees. This phenomenon is due to the still insufficiently saturated labour market in a number of locations. Japanese investors have a strong interest in strengthening vocational education, especially in technical fields and financial services.
Conversely, in terms of the visa regime the situation has improved in comparison with the past. With respect to this, CzechInvest and the Ministry of the Interior are striving for further improvement. However, certain problems persist. “One result of our dialogue is an agreement on the establishment of a regular consultation platform for visa and residency issues, which under CzechInvest’s leadership will focus on resolving current and future problems in this dynamic area,” says Tomáš Haišman, director of the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy at the Ministry of the Interior.
However, Czech-Japanese commercial relations are generally developing in a positive direction. Mutual trust has grown to such a degree that Japanese managers are increasingly handing over the running of companies to Czech managers.