Czech export to Britain grows despite Brexit uncertainty

Czech companies have increased their exports to Britain by 2 percent despite Brexit getting postponed this year, the Exporters Association deputy chairman Otto Danek told CTK. The development was uneven but the threat of Brexit helped because Czech companies wanted to make deals in advance, especially in the first quarter of this year, Danek said.

Exporters mostly count on Brexit happening next year and that it will be with a deal, Danek said. Most exporters should be ready for Brexit, as they had a year to do so, Danek said.

Any more delays in the Brexit decision-making process jeopardise investments and jobs in the car industry which depends on long-term planning, Skoda Auto car maker spokeswoman Simona Havlikova said.

Skoda Auto, as the entire industry, needs the UK-EU future relationship to get clear quickly, she said.

Czech exports to Britain grew annually by above-average 7.3 percent to more than Kc58bn in Q1, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data. The volume started to decrease in the spring and the growth rate was less than 1 percent in the middle of the year. It began to increase in the autumn and recorded Kc175bn for January-October in the cross-border concept, up by 1.9 percent year on year.

There has been a slowdown and the pace for the entire year may be 1-1.5 percent, Danek said. There was no exodus of Czech companies from Britain, he said.

In terms of export volume, Britain is the fifth most important partner of Czechia, following Germany, Slovakia, Poland and France. Annual exports amount to over Kc200bn, which is about 5 percent of the total volume, Danek said.

Czechia's external trade balance with Britain is in surplus of about Kc120bn, which is the third largest surplus after Germany and Slovakia, he said.