Before the fall of communism, the Czech Republic had a
centrally controlled, socialist economy. The country was one
of the most industrialized and economically developed
countries within the Comecon block. The war years and the
expulsion of Sudetis led to a sharp decline in production.
Following the takeover of the Communists, the first
five-year plan was adopted in 1948. It placed the main
emphasis on collectivizing agriculture, expanding the
nationalized heavy industry and adapting the country's
economy to trade with the Soviet Union. After the fall of
communism, there has been a gradual transition to a market
economy with the abandonment of state control of business.
In 1991, the privatization of a number of state-owned
enterprises began, and after a few years of difficulties,
the Czech Republic had increased production and relatively
low unemployment at the end of the 1990s. This development
was strengthened after the EU membership in 2004 and
increased foreign investment. The three countries that had
the largest foreign investment in the Czech Republic as of
2015 were: The Netherlands 24.1 percent of the total foreign
investment in the Czech Republic, Austria 13.4 percent and
Germany 12.9 percent.
Since 2014, gross domestic product (GDP) has increased as
follows: 5.5 per cent in 2015, 3.6 per cent in 2016 and 3.5
per cent in 2017. Unemployment in 2017 was 2.8 per cent and
inflation in 2017 was 2.3 percent. Per capita GDP in 2017
amounted to USD 35,200.
COUNTRYAAH, the country is rich in minerals and mining has long
traditions. Most important is coal mining. Most are mainly
mined in the Ostrava area and along the foot of the Krušné
Hory (Ore Mountains), in large open quarries, and mainly
goes to thermal power plants. The Czech Republic is the EU's
fourth largest coal producer after Germany and Poland.
Otherwise, some kaolin is extracted for the porcelain
In 2016, primary energy consumption was 1,737 EJ
(exajoule), with an import share of about 30 per cent. Per
capita this amounts to 165 GJ/year.
Fossil energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas,
account for around 75 percent of consumption. Most of the
coal consumption is covered with self-produced lignite,
while most of the oil and gas is imported from Russia.
Biomass accounts for around 10 percent.
The proportion of fossil energy used for the production
of electrical energy is around 55 per cent, dominated by
coal which alone accounts for almost 50 per cent. In
Dukovany and Temelin, there are two nuclear power plants
that cover just over 30 per cent of annual production.
Renewable energy, mainly hydropower and thermal power, is 13
per cent (figures from 2017).
Agriculture and forestry
From 1949 to 1989, Czech agriculture and forestry were
characterized by collectivization, socialist planning
economics and state governance. 95 per cent of the arable
land belonged to large collective and state farms, with low
efficiency and poor utilization of the machinery. In 1991, a
large-scale privatization was initiated, which has led to
approximately 80 per cent of the arable land and 25 per cent
of the forest being returned to the former owners or
privatized in some other way.
The most important strawberry products are wheat, sugar
beets and potatoes. In addition, barley, rye, corn, oats,
vegetables, fruits and, not least, hops, which are used in
beer production, are grown. In particular, pigs, cattle,
sheep, horses and poultry are kept. The country is
self-sufficient with all important, traditional agricultural
products. In 2017, agriculture's contribution to GDP was 2.5
per cent. The share of the working population employed in
agriculture was 2.8 per cent.
According to Eurostat's latest survey from 2010, the
cultivated agricultural area constitutes 44 percent of the
country's territory. This was three per cent lower than in
2003. The number of farms in 2010 was 22,860 compared to
23,840 in 2003. In 2010, the average size of Czech farms was
152 ha, which was higher than in any other EU country.
The forest area was 2,606 million hectares in 2016, of
which 57.42 per cent was state owned and 17.06 per cent
owned by municipalities. The area has been roughly stable
since 2010. Finished timber, which is the basis for the
country's paper industry, amounted to 17.6 million m 3
in 2016. At that time, the Czech Republic had a net export
of timber to Austria and Germany, but a net import from
Slovakia and Poland.
The Czech Republic is an important industrial country. In
2017, the industry's contribution to GDP was 37.8 per cent,
and 38 per cent of the employed were employed in the
The industry has had its weight in iron and steel
production and in chemical and electrical engineering
products. Growth has been uneven, especially because the
state planning system was not adapted to the more advanced
industry. After the introduction of economic reforms,
production slowed sharply in 1992 and 1993. Subsequently,
the industry was again growing, and it was developing in a
more versatile direction. Important sectors are automotive,
mechanical engineering and electronics, as well as the
chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The largest heavy
industry centers are around Prague and Ostrava. The
production of foodstuffs, glassware, rubber products and the
workshop industry are newer growth industries. The Czech
Republic has a well-known beer production. The beer
production in Plzeň has given the name to beer beer.
The largest steelworks are located at Ostrava, then in
Vítkovice, Kladno, Plzeň and Chomutov. The production of pig
iron and steel goes substantially to the large machinery and
transport industry. Of the machine factories are the Škoda
plants in Plzeň and a number of large companies in Prague,
Brno and Ostrava, with the production of agricultural and
workshop machinery, turbines, railway materials and cars.
The chemical industry includes synthetic substances,
artificial fertilizers and plastics. Petrochemical plants
can be found in Litvínov, among others.
The textile industry has strong traditions, but has
declined relatively. This also applies to the famous glass
and porcelain industry in the former Sudanese areas. In the
footwear industry, the Zlín factories are well known. In the
food and beverage industry, the sugar industry and large
breweries, including Plzeň, are noticeable.
Czech foreign trade in the 1980s and for some years in
the 1990s targeted the other Eastern European countries
(Comecon). Since the Czech Republic joined the EU and part
of the EEA in 2004, the country's economy has become very
open and foreign trade increasingly important for economic
In 2017, total exports amounted to USD 175.4 billion.
Imports totaled $ 145.4 billion. The Czech Republic had a
trade surplus of USD 30 billion. The main export goods are
machinery and transport equipment, including passenger cars,
industrial products and consumables, steel, iron, footwear,
glass and beer. The most important import goods are
machinery, transport equipment, oil and other petroleum
products, foodstuffs, chemicals, iron and steel.
In 2016, the Czech Republic's five main export markets
were as follows: Germany 32.4 per cent, Slovakia 8.4 per
cent, Poland 5.8 per cent, the United Kingdom 5.2 per cent
and France 5.2 per cent. The five most important markets for
Czech imports were: Germany 30.6 per cent, Poland 9.6 per
cent, China 7.5 per cent, Slovakia 6.3 per cent and the
Netherlands 5.3 per cent.
Transport and Communications
The Czech Republic is a transit area between the Danube
countries and northern Central Europe. The old north-south
transport lines have recently been supplemented by railways
and main roads between west and east. Until the 1950s, the
country was hampered by an outdated communications network
based in Vienna. The road and rail networks now leave
The road network is a total of 130 661 km. Of these, 1250
km are highways. The railway network is at 9621 km. The
Czech Republic has a total of 664 km of waterways. Most
important is the Vltava River, which has access to the Elbe
and the Elbe itself, which connects important industrial
areas in the Czech Republic with the North Sea via Hamburg
and the River Oder, which connects the industrial areas of
the country with the Baltic Sea via Szczecin.
There are 91 civilian airports in the Czech Republic, of
which 24 have international status. The most important
airport is Václav Havel International Airport in Prague.
The country has beautiful scenery with good opportunities
for tourism, hunting and fishing, honeymoon and cultural
experiences. Hundreds of castles, churches, cathedrals, old
town centers and other historical monuments have been
restored and made available to tourists in recent years.
Among the most important tourist destinations are Prague,
Karlovy Vary, Marianské Lázně, Olomouc, Český Krumlov, Kutná
Hora, Karlštejn and Telč. A number of festivals and sports
events are held in both winter and summer sports each year,
and the country receives a not insignificant number of
visitors in this regard.
In 2016, 18.45 million tourists came to the Czech
Republic compared to 12.7 million in 2006. In 2016, 12.6 and
5.4 per cent of tourists came from Germany and Russia