Press Advisories

16. 1. 2019 18:11

For the first time in the history of the Czech Republic, a Czech Prime Minister visited the Kingdom of Thailand

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and President of the Thai Government Prayut Chan-o-cha, January 16, 2019 in Bangkok.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and President of the Thai Government Prayut Chan-o-cha, January 16, 2019 in Bangkok.
On the third day of his Asia trip, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš visited Thailand. On Wednesday, 16 January 2019 in Bangkok, the Czech Prime Minister was received by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The talks focused mainly on the defence and economic cooperation of both countries, but the two politicians also touched on international politics. He also met with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and had lunch with the representatives of Thai partners in major projects.

Prime Minister Babiš was received by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Office of the Government. The talks focused on the further development of mutual business and economic relations. The Czech Prime Minister mentioned the very good contacts in the tourism industry, where Thailand is one of the favourite holiday destinations for Czechs, and vice versa.

“It is important to realize that Thailand is our main trading partner in Southeast Asia. Mutual business turnover continues to grow – according to Czech statistics, it has reached almost USD 1.5 billion. It is comparable to our turnover with India, our key partner Israel or with some EU member states”, said Andrej Babiš.

This positive trend is to be supported by the current visit of the Prime Minister, who is accompanied by the Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Nováková as well as a large business mission, which includes about 40 representatives of Czech companies. “I also very much appreciate the fact that Thailand is looking into the future, which is clear from the plan called Thailand 4.0. The Czech Republic is one of the most developed industrial countries in Europe and our companies have a lot of experience with the transformation to industry 4.0. I assured the Prime Minister that we will be very happy to share our know-how and experience”, said the Czech Prime Minister.

Both politicians also touched on the topic of defence cooperation between the Czech Republic and Thailand. Prime Minister Babiš reminded that Czech aircraft L-39 already help with the training of Thai pilots. “The Czech defence industry has more than a hundred-year tradition”, he said. “We are ready to help Thailand as it requires. We spoke, for example, about the new generation aircraft that are being produced in the Czech Republic and about our military vehicles and small arms. Some of them are already in use by the Thai security forces. Another great example of defence cooperation in this particular field is the training of Thai JAS-39 Gripen pilots at the tactical simulation centre in the Czech Republic”, said the Prime Minister.

During the talks, both politicians also returned to the successful evacuation of young footballers from the flooded Tham Luang cave. At that time, the Czech Republic also offered help, which the Thai partners appreciated. “I consider it a successful start of cooperation between Czech and Thai rescue units”, said Prime Minister Babiš.

At the meeting with the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Prawit Wongsuwan, the Prime Minister was accompanied by a business delegation involving representatives of the arms industry. According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, defence and economic cooperation along with the development of tourism are currently the main topics of the relations between the Czech Republic and Thailand.

“I was surprised how many things we have to discuss. We are offering Thailand new aircraft, repairs of old aircraft, Česká zbrojovka offers more or less the same products as in Hungary, i.e. assault rifles and pistols. We are offering radars, a free fall simulator, armoured vehicles, Tatras, mortars and active radars. We have Perun, a new armoured vehicle, Explosia is offering modular mortar shells... I am glad that the Czech arms industry is getting into shape again. These are very specific deals, they are already in progress, although, as my colleagues have informed me, to negotiate a similar contract in the arms industry, it takes up to eight years for everything to be tested and agreed upon. But it is very important for our exports”, said Prime Minister Babiš.

Andrej Babiš is the first Czech Prime Minister to visit the Kingdom of Thailand. On Thursday, the Prime Minister and the business mission will attend the opening of a business seminar organized by the Federation of Thai Industry in Bangkok in cooperation with the Czech Confederation of Industry.

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