Final Word from Friday, February 21, 2003

Some foreigners fear EU entry will lead to a drop in Czech trade with countries outside the Union, but Minister of Industry Jiří Rusnok brushed this fear aside yesterday in a talk to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The CR, he said, faces the problem of having too many of its eggs in one basket, with 80-85% of its exports going to the broader EU. Increased competition after accession will compound this risk, he said. His trade missions to China, India, Canada and the West Coast of North America in search of new markets should help some. At home, he's working on eliminating 20 or so of the biggest impediments to a better business climate. Many of these, he said, are on the wish lists of the foreign chambers of commerce. One investor said after yesterday's talk that even if Rusnok succeeds in getting only 3-4 of these accomplished, he'll have made a good mark.


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