By Shereen Shabnam
H.E Alexander Sporýš, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the UAE
His Excellency Alexander Sporýš, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Arab Emirates sees UAE as a significant trade partner of the Czech Republic and is currently working on enhancing trade relations between the two countries. We had an informal meeting with him, which left us wanting to get back to Prague and the city’s beautiful countryside on the next plane.
Currently UAE is the fourth largest importer of Czech Republic goods after USA, China and Japan and H.E Alexander Sporýš intends to help increase the figures even more. To cement relations further, the President of the Czech Republic, H.E. Miloš Zeman, paid an official visit to the United Arab Emirates on February 2015.
It was the first historical visit of a Czech president to the U.A.E. since the establishment of mutual diplomatic relations in 1988 and discussed friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries plus ways of enhancing these relations in the service of their mutual interests.
H.E. Alexandr Sporýš enjoys his diplomacy career. Born in1961 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, he did his final studies locally and studied at the Moscow Institute for Foreign Relations graduating with a specialised major in International Economic Relations. In 2014, he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the United Arab Emirates and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Yemen.
Prior to his current position, His Excellency Alexander Sporýš was a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, Czech Republic. He also spent a few years as Minister-Counsellor, Deputy Chief of Staff at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and between 2005 to 2007 he was the Chief of Political Affairs Unit with the UN Mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO.
H.E. Alexander Sporýš diplomacy credentials go back even further as from 1999 to 2004 he was the Deputy Head of Mission at the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, New York. Before that, he was with the United Nations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague and with the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, New York.
In the early stages of his career, H.E. Alexander Sporýš has also worked with the Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague and was the Charge’d’ affaires at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in UAE, Attaché at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Yemen and started his diplomacy journey with the Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague.
H.E. Alexander Sporýš is an advocate of sustainability and recently handed over the Letter of Credentials of the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) domiciled in Abu Dhabi. IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international co-operation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.
In terms of trade, the mutual trade turn over in 2015 has reached its historical maximum of 898mil. USD and H.E. Alexander Sporýš predicted it will reach 1 billion USD within maximum on or two years to come as it is still continuously growing. According to him, Czech Republic exports to the UAE market both industrial and consumer goods. In the long run 20% of the export is made of PC components and various IT products, 20% form telecommunication technologies and 10% glassware(crystal beads, lighting fixtures). Other items are personal cars, electrical distribution panels, transmitters and foodstuff.
The most visible Czech products are many distinguished lighting installations made by Czech glass and crystal makers seen in five star hotel lobbies, Dubai metro stations and in some government buildings. Many hospitals use Czech beds that are one of the most innovative of its kind worldwide. The most progressive sectors of mutual trade cooperation are water and electricity including renewables, transportation and logistics, healthcare including medical tourism, food trade including storage and distribution, information and telecommunication technologies and its security, construction and industrial technologies.
To facilitate the mutual trade, the Czech Republic participates regularly with national presentations at the biggest UAE trade events. H.E. Alexander Sporýš mentions the creation of the framework for mutual investment by concluding Agreement of Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments and Agreement on the Avoidance of the Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion. He hopes his initiatives will encourage economic cooperation in many fields of the national initiatives of both countries as i.e. research and development or innovations.
The number of Czech companies established in the UAE is growing. Last year the Czech companies and Czech professionals formed Czech Business Council in Dubai and Northern Emirates and within one year has acquired more than 100 members, which reiterates the strong relations between the two countries. We wish H.E. Alexandr Sporýš more successes in his diplomatic career in the future.