The Czech economy could be seriously affected if Russia decides to impose sanctions on the republic. This opinion was expressed by experts in an interview with the Czech edition of iRozhlas.
Jan Bures, chief economist at Patria Finance, noted that Czech exports to Russia are no more than 2%. Therefore, in his opinion, even in the event of a significant decrease in demand in Russia, a serious decline in demand for Czech goods in general is unlikely. At the same time, he pointed out possible threats to individual companies.
Jaroslav Hanak, President of the Union of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic, agrees with this opinion. However, the sanctions can not only negatively affect certain business representatives in the Czech Republic, but also stop the activities of the trade department of the Czech diplomatic mission or consulates helping Czech companies to enter the Russian market, the specialist said.
Last year, the Czech Republic exported more to Russia than it did to the republic, he stressed.
“We are an export economy, and we even have firms owned by Russians or focused directly on the Russian market.”, – explained Ganak.
In addition, Skoda Auto, which needs Russian subcontractors, may face significant difficulties, he added.
Sanctions from Russia may adversely affect import indicators, says Otto Danek, deputy chairman of the Association of Exporters of the Czech Republic. He clarified that these measures will lead to an increase in prices for energy resources and fuel, which may negatively affect the Czech industry.
The expert noted that the previously imposed retaliatory Russian sanctions had a much stronger effect on the Czech Republic and the European Union than the restrictions of European countries on Russia. After 2014, the Czech Republic managed to cope with economic difficulties, but there is no certainty that it will be the same now, Danek concluded.
Earlier it became known that the Russian authorities, in response to the actions of the Czech Republic against Russian diplomats, are considering the option of restricting the import of a number of Czech-made goods, in particular beer.
Chairman of the State Duma Economic Policy Committee Sergei Zhigarev, in turn, called for finding other ways to resolve the situation with the Czech Republic instead of banning beer imports. He stressed that bilateral relations should be improved and not complicated by the introduction of economic bans.
Tensions in relations between Russia and the Czech Republic arose after the Prime Minister of the republic Andrei Babis announced on April 17 that the country’s authorities suspected Russian special services of involvement in the explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014. On the same day, the Czech Republic announced its decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats.
Moscow, in turn, on April 18 announced 20 employees of the Czech embassy in the Russian Federation persona non grata. The accusations in Russia were categorically denied, and the fact that Prague does not publish a report on the explosion, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova called evidence of a lie.
As a result of a series of announcements by the parties about additional measures, by May 31, seven diplomats, 25 technical staff and 19 people hired on the spot will remain in the embassies of the Czech Republic and Russia.