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Czech Republic to send trade missions to PH next year

The Czech Republic will send trade missions to the Philippines next year for possible partnerships on defense and agriculture, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Czech Republic Ambassador to the Philippines Karel Hejč, who presented his credentials to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in on Tuesday, said they are organizing visits to the country involving high-ranking government officials and business delegation.

«The opportunities are here. We just need to grab them and I'm pleased to mention that just in the next year, we will start here with the visit of the foreign committee of our parliament on so much important defense and security issues of the regional geopolitics,» Hejč told the President.

«But later on in the year, we plan on bringing our Minister of Agriculture to Manila and to the Philippines where we want to — naturally, our ministers travel accompanied with business delegations. So, carefully selected companies that are interested in doing business with the Philippines, with the Filipino companies, and investing in the Philippines,» he added.

With Czech Republic's geographic position in Europe and its role in past regional conflicts, Hejč said it was able to enhance and develop its defense and security industry, making it one of the producers of the finest war instruments, arms and ammunition in the world.

He said that along with small tractors used in agriculture, the country also manufactures fighter jets, airplanes and other equipment.

Aside from producing war materiel, the Czech Republic also offers cooperation in training exercises, maintenance and upgrades, among others.

Marcos told the envoy that the government is prioritizing agriculture to transform the Philippine economy.

He said that defense and security is also a major thrust.

The Philippines and Czech Republic established their formal diplomatic relations on October 5, 1973.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala arrived in the Philippines for an official visit in April this year.

The Czech Republic is the Philippines' 39th trading partner, 28th export market, and 47th import supplier last year, with total bilateral trade amounting to $303.21 million.

Among the Philippine top exports are storage units,