The Slovenia Times

Tatarstan: New Potential Market for Slovenia


Slovenia-Russia trade is increasing despite the difficult political and economic circumstances, but trade with Tatarstan accounts for a tiny share of the EUR 1.5bn in bilateral trade, said Russian Minister for Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov.

Likewise, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said relations between companies were "not at a level that we desire". "The Russian market is huge and we are your potential partner. Tatarstan is willing to open to Slovenian firms and offer them good conditions."

Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Doku Zavgayev said small and medium-sized firms could form the core of cooperation, as they account for a significant share of the economy in both countries yet account for only a quarter of total Russia-Slovenia trade.

The interest in trade appears to be shared, according to GZS president Samo Hribar Milič, who said Slovenian firms were "keenly interested" in cooperation with Russia, as evident from the turnout at the event.

Despite the current problems, businesses are "looking at the future with optimism," said Hribar Milič, who called on politicians to "reduce or resolve the current conflicts" so the potential for cooperation can be "fully exploited".

The representatives of Tatarstan, one of the most developed regions in Russia, presented the region's oil, chemical and car industry as well as agriculture, information technology and tourism.

Tourism was singled out by Marjan Hribar, the head of the tourism directorate at the Economy Ministry. "Sales to Russian tourists have already exceeded EUR 50m," he told the STA on the margins of the event.

As for EU sanctions against Russia, Hribar said Russian partners realized Slovenia had to adhere to EU rules, but suggested it was making efforts to improve the situation.

"In Brussels we are striving for cautious moves. Slovenia is always in favour of market liberalisation and I believe we will head in the direction of normalisation," he said.


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