Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Trade agreement with Czech Republic signed today.

The Commonwealth Government today officially recognised the importance of Australia's trade relationship with the Czech Republic with the signing of a Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement.

Signed by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade Senator David Brownhill and the Czech Republic's First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Pavel Dvorak, the document will lay the foundation for expansion of bilateral trade.

Senator Brownhill said Australia already has a positive and friendly relationship with the government of the Czech Republic but there had been a need to modernise its trade relationship due to changes in Czech trade policy in recent years.

"Exports to the Czech Republic reached $50 million last year, while imports were worth $53 million for the same period," he said.

"While this trade is not substantial at present, there are promising signs for growth. The Czech Republic is also an increasingly important destination for Australian investment.

"Companies with substantial interests include Coca-Cola Amatil (beverage production and distribution), Mincom (development, distribution and marketing of mining industry software), Brambles (rental of railway wagons to Czech companies and the maintenance and hire of forklifts to Skoda Volkswagen), and Pioneer International (gravel/sand quarrying and- the operation of ready-mix concrete plants)."

The Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement, signed today, calls on the Governments of Australia and the Czech Republic to encourage and facilitate:

. the negotiation of commercial contracts between relevant legal and natural persons of their two countries

. the development of economic, industrial and technical co-operation

. The interchange of commercial and technical representatives, groups and delegations between the two countries

. the holding of, and participation in, trade fairs, trade exhibitions, and other promotional activities in the field of trade and technology in each country

. the participation of small and medium sized enterprises in trade and industrial co-operation

Media Inquiries: Murray Hansen, 067 666 998