The Slovenia Times

Slovenia-Belarus Conference Looking for Business Opportunities


Belarus could become a springboard for the 180-million market of the Eurasian Economic Union, while Slovenia could serve as entry point for Belarusian deals in the EU, the participants agreed.

Franc But of the Foreign Ministry said that business could count on support from diplomacy in making deals in Belarus. Slovenia has no embassy there but this could change as Slovenia and Belarus have very good and friendly relations, he added.

He announced that the joint economic commission will discuss in Minsk at the end of September the cooperation between the countries in the past year and whether to sign an agreement on the mutual promotion of investment.

"Bilateral trade last year stood at between EUR 90m and EUR 100m, but it has been dropping slightly so far this year, which is not good considering that our country is recording 3% economic growth and almost 10% growth in exports for the second year in a row," But said.

Andrei Avramenko of the Belarusian Embassy in Budapest meanwhile pointed to the latest data from the international Doing Business survey, which places Belarus in 57th place among 189 countries in terms of the accessibility of the economy.

He noted that the country had simplified tax procedures and cut red tape for various permits. "The economic situation worsened somewhat this year because of external factors, such as the problems in the Ukrainian-Russian relations."

Avramenko said there were benefits for both countries in the efforts to boost bilateral cooperation, adding that Slovenian companies were already successfully participating in a number of major construction projects in Belarus.

Davlat Yusupov, a representative of Belarus in the Centre for International Cooperation and Development, noted that there were around 30 ongoing projects in which Slovenian companies were involved, with a total value of EUR 50m.

The Municipality of Maribor, which is hosting the event as part of the "Invest in Maribor" plan, showed the most interest in Belarusian investments in Slovenia.

Mayor Andrej Fištravec said that Belarus was the fastest growing economy in Europe, and that Maribor wanted to restore its glory as the industrial centre of Slovenia, primarily with investments in jobs with high added value.


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