The Czech Competitiveness Council is a platform for debating competitiveness, economic policy and promoting solutions across all sectors, public and private.

Spotlight Issue

New EU rule to help investors

20 April 2014

European politicians ruled that thousands of firms must reveal their performance as corporate citizens. Around 6,000 firms across the European Union will have to provide details on how they tackle issues such as bribery and human rights. New law might help investors in their search for companies with good environmental, social and governance track records. However, the rules do not prescribe the information to be given. The draft had proposed applying the rules to 17,000 listed and unlisted companies, but it was scaled back following complaints from businesses. Previously, United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative, signed by 1200 asset owners, investment managers and service providers managing nearly $35 trillion around the globe, marked first steps towards sustainable investing. Newly proposed EU legislation still needs to be approved by EU member states.

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News

Economic Policy: The Czech Republic and the U.S. signed a cooperation agreement on civilian research and development in the field of nuclear energy

20 April 2014

According to the press release of Ministry of Industry and Trade its minister Jan Mládek and his counterpart Ernest J. Moniz, U.S. Minister of Energy, signed on Wednesday 26 March a cooperation agreement on civilian research and development in the field of nuclear energy. During the meeting ministers also discussed the case of construction of new blocks in Temelín power plant (now cancelled). Another major topic were negotiations on a new agreement on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the EU and the USA which would enable free trade between the respective countries and facilitate investments and raise competitiveness of  the USA and the EU as a result along with improving countries’ energy security. Ministers also mentioned the possible export of shale gas from the USA to Europe that would further improve overall energy security of European continent. In the respective case simplification of gas export procedures by the USA would be in place.

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Competitiveness: New directive on intra-corporate transferees from third countries

20 April 2014

On 15 April, the European Parliament adopted in 1st reading the new directive on intra-corporate transfers of third-country nationals. According to Commissioner Malmstroem, third-country nationals are a small group of intra-corporate transferees, but are usually the highest-skilled and the most valuable for the company. They are therefore very important for EU economy and the present legal framework was not favorable for them. In fact, no single rules existed in the EU, the main disadvantage of which was that entry into each Member State of a third-country intra-corporate transferee was governed by a different set of rules and the admittance procedure had to be run even when the worker was transferred inside the EU. Following the adoption of this directive, however, one single set of rules will exist for the cases of intra-corporate transfers of third-state nationals and once a person is transferred inside the EU, he can be transferred almost freely inside the EU. Additionally, the transferee will be protected at the same level as EU workers and treatment of his family will be improved. The adoption by the Parliament followed an informal agreement with the Council. Formal adoption by the ministerial Council will follow shortly, after which Member States will have 30 months to transpose the directive into their national legislations.

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Competitiveness: Regional Innovation Strategy of Prague open for comments

14 April 2014

Draft of Regional Innovation Strategy of Prague is open for comments from public and companies to ensure transparency in the process. The document has been prepared taking the guidelines of the European Commission and the Ministry of Education of processing the National Strategy for smart specialization of the Czech Republic into account. Comments should be sent using the comment sheet by May 5, 2014

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Economic Policy: China to issue new rules for trust companies

14 April 2014

China Banking Regulatory Commission will issue new regulatory that aims at reducing liquidity risks associated with off-balance-sheet wealth management products (WMP) by forbidding trusts from operating pools of cash and credit assets that enable them to fund cash payouts on maturing products with the proceeds from new WMP sales. Last year, assets under management at Chinese trust firms rose to $1.8 trillion. Regulators prefer trusts to strictly match each WMP with a specific set of underlying assets, rather than pooling cash and assets from different products together into common pools. Further, new rules require trust companies to develop clear mechanisms for shareholders to provide emergency support to the trust firm during periods of liquidity stress and to reduce lending when their capital levels fall due to losses. Finally, the regulator will tighten the approval process for trusts to expand into new business lines.

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