The Slovenia Times

Strengthening the Trade Links



How will the financial crisis affect the British economy? What is the UK Government doing aboutit?

There is no denying that these are tough times but there are real reasons to be confident about the UK's economic prospects.

The UK economy is going into this global downturn better placed than in the past with historically low interest rates, low inflation, and high levels of employment. The UK is the world's largest financial centre so it is no surprise that our economy will be affected by the global credit crunch.

As the Prime Minister Gordon Brown says, "This is a global problem that requires a global solution. No country, no matter how big, can solve these problems on their own. We need comprehensive action, not just nationally but internationally."

The UK Government has taken decisive action.

It's clear that trade and investment will remain vital for the UK economy.

Companies need to explore markets where opportunities remain, and UKTI can help in this.

A recent survey of our trade clients found only 38 percent felt their business had been negatively affected by the downturn in the US or UK.

In the survey (which covers Quarter 2 of 2008/2009), 52 percent said their business had benefited from sustained economic growth or increasing demand in overseas.

Will the crisis affect the UK's attractiveness as a destination for foreign investment?

According to a recent UN report (UNCTAD's World Investment Report), the UK is the top destination for inward investment in Europe and the second only to the US worldwide.

The figure for last year, which included the first six months of the credit crunch, showed that the UK attracted over one trillion US dollars for the second time in a row.

The UN report predicted there will be a decline in FDI worldwide this year, but we are well placed to retain our market share.

Importantly, the UK is not dependent on any one sector for its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). There is still scope for growth in a number of sectors, such as creative industries and advanced engineering, just to name a few.

Companies continue to choose to locate in the UK for a variety of reasons; a flexible and skilled workforce, good business environment, stable and transparent regulation, and the ease of doing business.

What is the UKTI all about? How does UKTI work abroad?

Our role is to market the UK economy internationally as a springboard for global growth.

As regards trade, we have four key roles: to provide access to key contacts and networks overseas; to help innovative and high growth businesses to go international; to provide access to information which the private sector would be unable, or unwilling, to provide; to help strategic co-operation among UK businesses, including showcasing the UK's capabilities in new markets, and strengthening the UK's reputation in key markets and sectors.

On investment, we promote the UK as an attractive environment to grow your business.

It's a gateway to other markets in the region; enabling businesses to be close to important centres of knowledge or research, or centres of expertise in their sector. There's an established network of business services; and a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Businesses establishing the UK are locating in a major international business centre. They can keep up with competitors, and be close to customers;

What is the trade relationship like between the UK and Slovenia? How can it be strengthened?

Trade between Slovenia and the UK is increasing and currently stands at 770 million euros. At the moment, Slovenia exports to the UK slightly more than it imports from the UK. We are 10th in terms of Slovenia's trade partners.

Increasingly UK companies are becoming aware of Slovenia and the opportunities it offers.

We think that the removal of trade barriers has helped in this.

UK businesses in Slovenia tell us that legal and bureaucratic obstacles can present problems but companies that persist find Slovenia a good market to work in.

How can the Embassy help Slovenian companies?

The Embassy can help Slovenian companies to find relevant partners in the UK if they are looking tosource products or services from the UK.

We can do this via our Business Opportunities database, by organising visits to trade fairs in the UK, inviting Slovenian companies to trade-related events that the Embassy organises etc.

How can Slovene companies bid for contracts for the Olympics.

Slovene companies interested in competing for business in the Olympics can register on the CompeteFor website.

This is the website chosen by London 2012 for the publication of Games-related contract opportunities.

It acts as a brokerage service between buyers throughout the London 2012 supply chain, and potential suppliers rather like an online business dating agency.

Companies can use the site to profile themselves in the run-up to bidding for contracts and following a win. This profiling will enable them to go on and win work post Olympics.

Slovene companies that are interested in partnering with a UK company or investing in the UK will be able to contact the British Embassy to follow up.


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