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Czech News in English » Opinion » Týden: Czech rich will repay Zeman for invitation to Chinese forum

Týden: Czech rich will repay Zeman for invitation to Chinese forum

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Prague, April 4 (CTK) – The 30 Czech prominent businesspeople whom Milos Zeman invited to an economic forum with Chinese President Xi Jinping when the gate to big money was being opened will definitely repay Zeman with support in the presidential election, Ondrej Fer writes in weekly Tyden out on Monday.

Xi Jinping visited the Czech Republic on March 28-30 as the first Chinese president to visit the Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia before.

During the visit, agreements and memoranda were signed which should bring more than 90 billion crowns to the Czech Republic this year and another more than 200 billion crowns by 2020.

Fer writes that the total would cover this year’s state budget deficit projected at 70 billion crowns and some money would still be left over.

Whatever can be thought of Zeman whose economic diplomacy is behind the Chinese investment influx, he cannot be denied the big success he has attained, Fer writes.

He writes that the greatness of the success was embodied by the onlookers. To make Petr Kellner, the richest Czech, to leave his strictly guarded privacy and allow his photograph being taken is a noteworthy success in itself.

Kellner did even more. He quite willingly sat down to one table with the owners of the J&T financial group, Dusan Palcr and Patrik Tkac, and with Andrej Babis, finance minister and owner of the Agrofert Holding, Fer writes.

He writes that occasional skirmishes between the Czech business leaders were forgotten, if only temporarily.

The billionaires who met in Prague have one thing in common. They know very well where there are opportunities for interesting business. By their participation in the forum, they proved that they want to work with the Chinese money and that they count with it, Fer writes.

He adds that they are not alone. The number of businesspeople who have started learning Chinese has doubled to 400 during the past seven years.

Until now, the Czech Republic has been sleeping in comparison with other countries. One year ago, a mere 18 business projects with Chinese participation were underway in the Czech Republic, compared with 442 in Germany, for instance, Fer writes.

He writes that the share of Chinese money in the country was lower than 0.5 percent of the overall volume of foreign investments last year.

The agreements signed last week will raise the figure by about 3 percent, Fer writes.

The fact that China has decided to steer its investments to the Czech Republic is a good sign of its geopolitical anchoring and legal environment, Fer writes.

He writes that Chinese investors are very cautious about spending their money. The Czech Republic, compared with the unsettled situation in Hungary, Poland and also Slovakia, represents a solid base.

Zeman, too, built a solid base for himself during Xi Jinping’s visit, Fer writs.

According to the latest public opinion poll, he is trusted by 62 percent of people, which has been the most since he was elected head of state in early 2013, Fer writes.

Some of those whom Zeman, 71, invited to the meeting with Xi Jinping will not undoubtedly forget about this during the campaign before the second direct presidential election in January 2018, Fer writes.

Zeman himself will definitely see to it on his regular tours of the Czech regions that people remember that the money he helped bring in the Czech Republic has enabled to create new jobs or to at least preserve the existing, Fer writes.

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