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Bilateral relations are friendly and 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The Working Holiday Scheme is a centrepiece of the relationship, with the Czech quota of 1,200 consistently filled.
The countries have strong people-to-people links and New Zealand has a small Czech community. Bohemians, Moravians and Slovaks first came to New Zealand through Australia and Tahiti in the 1860s. More recent migration followed the suppression of "The Prague Spring" in 1968. While the Czech community in New Zealand is small, it has featured a number of prominent individuals, notably the late Fred Turnovsky ONZ, OBE (1916-1994), a well-known Wellington businessman who was influential in the development of music in New Zealand. There is also a small community of New Zealanders in the Czech Republic. A number of New Zealand soldiers who fell in World War Two are also buried in Commonwealth War Graves in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is New Zealand’s 65th largest trading partner; two–way trade totalled NZ$83 million in the year to June 2013, with the trade balance heavily in the Czech Republic’s favour. Skoda cars and parts are notable imports. Education and tourism are sectors that offer potential for growth, particularly as a number of Czech universities increasingly offer a range of courses and degrees in English. We have some existing science and education links, most notably through Lincoln University, which is working with ‘Euro League’ universities, including the Czech University of Life Sciences, on agriculture and natural resource initiatives.
The Czech Republic and New Zealand enjoy a strong record of cooperation on multilateral issues. As small countries, we each work through international bodies to ensure our voices are heard. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004 (holding the Presidency of the EU during the first half of 2009).
Land Area: 78,866 sq km
Population: 10.5 million (January 2014)
Capital City: Prague (Praha)
Political system: Parliamentary Republic
National government: Centre-left coalition government of CSSD (Social Democrats), ANO and Christian Democrats
National legislature: Bicameral; Lower House Chamber of Deputies - 200 members; Senate - 81 members
Last election: October 2013
Next election due: 2017
Head of State: President Miloš Zeman
Head of Government: Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
GDP: US$194.2 billion
Real GDP growth: -1.4%
Exports: US$133,843 million
Main exports: Machinery and transport goods, raw materials, chemicals
Imports: US$125,193 million
Current account balance: US$-2,731 millon
Inflation: 1.3% (2013 average)
NZ Exports (FOB): NZ$9 million
NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$74 million
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The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to the Czech Republic [external link].