Trade between China and the Czech Republic increased almost 60 percent from 2013 to 2017, making China the Czech Republic's third-largest trading partner, according to data released at the Czech-China Business Forum in Shanghai on Tuesday.
"We welcome China's opening its doors wider to imported products and fully acknowledge the belief that free trade needs to be firmly upheld to ensure sustained global economic growth," said Marta Novakova, the Czech Republic's minister of trade and industry.
Bilateral relations are at their historical best, Novakova continued, adding that next year will be the 80th year of Sino-Czech relations.
"The governments of our two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership and adopted a bilateral cooperation plan under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2016, which maps out the fields and directions of joint activities, namely in trade, investment and a number of other areas," the minister said. "Based on the plan, we will provide activities aiming to broaden people-to-people exchanges, develop joint projects and consolidate a foundation for the long-term and steady development of bilateral ties."
For example, the country's leading company in online travel booking, Kiwi, signed a cooperation deal with Shanghai-based Spring Airlines as part of an expansion of business to the Chinese market.
At the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the Czech Republic's pavilion is designed to present the essence of the official motto－"Czech Republic, Land of Stories".
It brought exhibits and products that for decades have been exported to China. Traditional Czech crafts, such as glassmaking, musical instruments and toy production, along with high-tech automotive, aerospace, heavy machinery and virtual reality, are on display.
Czech agriculture and tastes are represented by its beer, wine, healing water, cakes and other quality products.
Czech President Milos Zeman came to Shanghai at the invitation of President Xi Jinping to attend the inaugural China International Import Expo. It is his fourth visit to China since 2014.
"Nowadays, machinery and transportation equipment remain the backbone of the Czech export structure. This traditional segment is represented in the Chinese market, namely by Skoda cars, which are now manufactured in China and frequently visible on Chinese streets and roads," Novakova said.
Bernhard Maier, CEO of Skoda Auto, said that China has become Skoda's largest single market in only three years.
In the first nine months of this year, Skoda delivered more than 250,000 vehicles in China, an increase of 17 percent over last year, Maier said.
"We are investing in the expansion of our model range, the promotion of e-mobility and the development of new mobility services in line with our overall goals, and China is a good market for e-mobility and other technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data," Maier said.
The next milestone, he said, is the Skoda Kodiaq GT－a coupe version of the SUV－built exclusively for the Chinese market. It was tested during the expo, he said.