Leaders of Central and Eastern European countries have agreed on enhancing economic cooperation with China

 On Monday, 27 November 2017, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended the summit of the 16+1 cooperation in Budapest. The aim of the meeting of 16 Central and Eastern European countries was to increase economic cooperation with China and to define priorities for the upcoming period.



"Today's meeting has confirmed that the 16+1 platform is, for the Czech Republic, a suitable complement to the further development of the well functioning strategic partnership between the EU and China. It is also a useful tool for smaller countries such as the Czech Republic to further enhance their bilateral cooperation with China and to emphasise themes that are important for them. Our intensive work has brought concrete results, the export of Czech goods to China grew year-on-year by 29%, there are already four direct flight connections between the Czech Republic and China and the number of Chinese tourists in the Czech Republic is growing steadily, this year up to half a million of them are estimated to arrive,“ said Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

The Czech Republic is preparing to host two conferences in the 16+1 format next year. The development of cooperation in healthcare, mainly in the traditional Chinese medicine and in regulation of medicinal products, should be the subject of the Forum 16+1 in May next year.

Another Forum 16+1 focused on civil aviation is planned to take place in Prague in June next year. It is a confirmation that cooperation in aviation is one of the most dynamically developing areas of the common activities of the Czech Republic and China. Today, Prime Minister Sobotka has also confirmed that the Czech Republic is interested in hosting the Summit of Heads of Government of the 16+1 countries in the next years.

In the margin of the meeting of prime ministers of the 16+1 platform, Prime Minister Sobotka met in Budapest with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

They spoke about trade relations between the two countries, among other things about the growing export of quality Czech goods to China, which has grown year-on-year by 29% to CZK 23 billion. Both prime ministers appreciated the already four functioning direct flight connections between the Czech Republic and China, which foster economic exchange and development of tourism, and they agreed on their further increase. Another two direct flight connections are planned already for next year.

Prime Minister Sobotka also invited the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to the Czech Republic in 2019, upon the 70th anniversary of establishing the Czech-Chinese diplomatic relations.

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