Prague, July 18 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka talked about an increase in the number of Chinese tourists in the Czech Republic and economic cooperation with China at Prague’s Czech-Chinese investment forum today, mentioning news in the countries’ trade relations to journalists.

Czech milk can now be sold on the Chinese market, as it has been licensed in the country, Sobotka told journalists after meeting with Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka.

Sobotka commented on the forum being closed saying it was not organised by the government and that it was the event organisers’ decision.

“A few years ago, 40,000 Chinese tourists a year came here, this year might see their numbers reaching 400,000 to 500,000,” Sobotka said.

The Czech Republic has three direct flights to China, with the preparation of another two being underway, Sobotka added.

It is a shame that Prime Minister Sobotka did not mention his attendance at the China Investment Forum in his media programme, as cooperation with China deserves promotion, presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek tweeted.

A total of 2,086 Czech companies currently have a Chinese owner, according to data of Bisnode consulting company. The number has been declining since December 2012 when it hit 2,301.

Share capital of said companies totals Kc5.6bn.

China ranks 11th in terms of the number of investors in Czech firms and 22nd in the share capital volume.

The forum follows up the Chinese project of the New Silk Road whose goal is to improve transport routes and thus trade and economic cooperation between Asia, Europe and Africa.

Czech President Milos Zeman said during his visit to China this year that the New Silk Road project is fascinating and ambitious.

Zeman has long been supporting expansion of trade with China and Chinese investment in the Czech Republic.

However, Zeman has been criticised by non-government organisations for prioritising economic aspects over human rights issues when dealing with China’s representatives.