Keynote Speech of Jan Kohout at Plenary Session of 2017 Xi'an Silk Road Business Summit
8 Sep 2017


Jan Kohout

President of New Silk Road Institute Prague


Keynote Speech


Plenary Session of 2017 Xi'an Silk Road Business Summit


8 September 2017


Excellences, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,


Thank you very much for your invitation. I am delighted to be here at this significant Xi’an Silk Road Business Summit and Silk Road International Culture Week, here in the city, which represented the beginning of the ancient Silk Road in the past and currently can represent the beginning of a new project, new cooperation and business opportunities.


In the frame of Belt and Road Initiative, a large piece of work was carried out and the new era of cooperation between China and European countries has started. Many cooperation agreements and Memoranda of Understanding have been signed between representatives of public authorities, research institutions and businesses on both sides. The communication corridor was open and potential partners already know each other. Now we have to move to a next phase – put all those cooperation plans and ideas into the practise. I consider this phase to be a crucial part of cooperation, because all those agreements and memoranda were signed primarily with the aim of practical implementation.


My speech should be about an exchange on the economic and trade development. I would rather talk about some of the successful examples of this exchange from a practical perspective than theoretical outlines which would be probably boring for many of you. In this respect, we can already see a great success in the field of industry and I would like to mention one import sector of mutual cooperation, which is not only working but has also great potential to be even more deepened. The sector I am talking about is aviation but firstly I need to say that we would not be able to reach such results without support of national governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, research organisations, development and design studios, aircraft and parts manufacturers, maintenance and repair providers or air traffic control. There is no doubt that the Czech Republic is an active partner of China in aviation sector which belongs to one of the three priorities in the strategic partnership between the Czech Republic and the PRC concluded by both presidents in 2016. This successful aviation cooperation can be observed by the opening of three direct flight connections: Beijing-Prague in September 2015, Shanghai-Prague in June 2016, and Chengdu-Prague in August 2016. As I know the opening of the direct line between Xi'an and Prague has already been confirmed (under patronage of China Eastern and it is assumed to be launched in the spring of 2018, but we do not have the deadline yet).


Since the end of the year 2016 Sichuan Airlines has started training their pilots in the Czech First Flight Center F AIR, which is the only approved flight school by the Civil Aviation Authority of China in Central and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, Czech airplanes are already produced in the provinces of Sichuan and Zhejiang and we also welcome partners from Shaanxi, where the aviation industry has very strong roots. Moreover, we would be very delighted if Xi'an city would be one of the places where Czech companies would participate in the development of general aviation in China. At the end of August 2017, the Czech Republic was a partner country at the China International General Aviation Convention, which was held here in Xi'an and where the Czech Republic exhibited its newest and best light aircraft called Shark.


It makes us happy, that this area of cooperation works and already brings us a lot of fruit. However, we need to develop and open cooperation also in another sector, which is dominant in developed countries, quickly developing in China and which becomes progressively more and more important generally. Yes, I am talking about services. Services include many branches such as financial sector, tourism, health care, social care, transportation and I could state many others but what I want to say is that these branches represent many opportunities for international cooperation. Many European companies active in the tertiary sector are keen to enter the Chinese market, but despite the great interest of both sides (European countries and China), there are still obstacles which make the cooperation harder or impossible. In this moment, I am speaking especially about legal environment in China, which is very complicated for foreign companies. The same situation is with regulation standards in the financial sector, health care, social care and many others. Should I deliver a message to all Chinese companies who are interested in partnership with foreign countries, I would recommend being prepared to provide as much information about the company in English as they have and presenting a brochure with the standards and requirements to simplify mutual communication followed by business transaction.


Excellences, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, we are in the period of great opportunities and new possibilities and we should be proud of what we have done. It was no easy way to get this point of cooperation and we already see the fruit of our effort. There are still some challenges ahead and the fulfilment of Belt and Road Initiative depends on us to handle them skilfully and successfully.


Thank you for your attention and I wish you a fruitful discussion in the following program!