Skopje, 17 April 2012 (MIA) - Energy, infrastructure, mineral raw materials, tourism and agriculture industry are just some of the sectors where Macedonia and the Czech Republic are to intensify business cooperation.
Both countries share excellent economic relations, but the maximum capacity is still not fully utilized, assessed Economy Minister Valon Saraqini and Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba on Tuesday.
"I hope this is just the beginning of increasing trade cooperation, which has intensified through implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement that Macedonia has signed with all EU members, as well as the World Trade Organization membership", said Saraqini prior to the Macedonian-Czech Business Forum in the Economic Chamber of Macedonia.
Minister Kuba, who is part of a Czech delegation led by PM Petr Necas, voiced conviction that high-level talks would significantly contribute to improvement of bilateral relations.
"Ministers must enable higher level of economic cooperation. If they don't, they have failed in the job. Macedonia and the Czech Republic have a long-standing history of good bilateral economic relations, which have enhanced in recent years. However, they have still not reached the full potential. The main question is what are the steps that need to be undertaken for maximum utilization of this potential", added Kuba.
According to him, the purpose of his participation at the Skopje business forum was not only to present Czech companies, but also urge Macedonian firms to use the potentials offered by the Czech market.
Kuba also reiterated the Czech support to Macedonia's Euro-integration and the country's readiness to provide assistance in the EU accession talks.
At the bilateral meeting held prior to the forum, Saraqini briefed Kuba on Macedonia's investment opportunities in the sectors of energy, tourism, agriculture, mineral raw materials, IT and construction.
Interlocutors agreed that a mixed committee resulting from the bilateral free trade agreement is set to hold its session by the year-end, at which it would define the following steps towards intensification of business cooperation.
Macedonian-Czech trade exchange in 2011 amounted to US$83 million, of which US$60 imports, as well as EUR 600,000 of Czech investments.
Ministers Saraqini and Kuba agreed these numbers leave room for improvement.