Dubai – Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek symbolically took over on behalf of Slovenia the management of the country’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai as part of his official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The minister said at the ceremony on Tuesday that “Slovenia will show know-how, innovation and energy at the Expo”.
“I’m very happy that the plans we had set already in 2016 are coming to fruition. We will thus crown our export efforts at the largest Expo so far,” Počivalšek said about the exhibition taking place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.
The minister believes that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dubai Expo will be a new entry point for the promotion of Slovenia’s economy and economic cooperation with the world.
“The pavilion itself, which is a true green oasis, will certainly attract a lot of looks and attention,” he said, adding that Slovenia could look forward to greater business cooperation with the UAE based on its showing at the exhibition.
The minister believes that Slovenia and Slovenian companies will be successful in this respect and that they will create new, closer business relations and investment opportunities.
“Slovenia is in Dubai to show the world its know-how, innovation and energy. The pavilion which we officially opened today will be home to our economy for at least six months,” Počivalšek added.
State Secretary Ajda Cuderman, who manages the Slovenian Expo project, praised the pavilion as a “truly beautiful building that will represent Slovenia well at the largest world exhibition” as a country “with green heart and advanced economy.”
Slovenia’s Expo 2020 commissioner general Matic Volk presented the 1,500 square metre pavilion as a venue that combines the features from Slovenia’s promotional slogan at the Expo – Green, Creative, Smart.
Slovenia’s pavilion, located in the part of the venue dedicated to sustainability, is built from wood, has green facade and is surrounded by water, expressing three main natural resources of Slovenia – wood, green environment and water, he said.
It is located at the very entrance to the Expo complex, which is an additional advantage, Volk added.
Tomaž Kostanjevec, the acting director of the SPIRIT export promotion agency, added that the Dubai exposition was an excellent opportunity to put Slovenia on the map as a “good and reliable business and tourism partner.”
Dubai is a good starting point, as more than 70% of the 500 largest multinationals have its offices there and, after all, a total of 190 countries will be featured at the Expo, which is a good opportunity to expand bilateral ties, he said.
As part of the three-day visit, Minister Počivalšek on Monday met Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, and today he met Emirati Minister of Economy Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri.
To the latter, Počivalšek presented the volume of trade between Slovenia and the UAE. “In the first ten months of last year, we recorded a 5.6% growth in trade in goods to EUR 70.7 million, of which EUR 68.6 million was Slovenia’s exports.”
The minister said that one of the goals of Slovenia’s appearance at the Dubai Expo was to establish better bilateral relations and means of cooperation. “It is important that we … understand the importance and purpose of this event.”
Počivalšek also told his counterpart that strengthening bilateral cooperation was important from the aspect of post-pandemic recovery, with Slovenia having drafted an extensive programme for aid and investments in the economy.
Minister Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri said he saw opportunities for cooperation with Slovenia in particular in high technology, investments and food production technologies.
He noted that foreign companies had been enabled to fully own companies in the UAE. “The UAE wants to become a commercial hub and a springboard for the Indian and African markets, which is also an opportunity for Slovenia,” he added.
Počivalšek also met Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimi, the director general of Expo 2020, to agree that the Expo was an excellent platform to strengthen bilateral cooperation, the Slovenian ministry said.
Al Hashimi said the exhibition was an opportunity for Slovenia to present showcase sustainable and innovative development, and wished Slovenia and the UAE to come up with a mutual investment project as soon as possible.
The pair agreed to organise a bilateral virtual conference, which would include public agencies and business chambers from both countries, at which Slovenian products of potential interest to the UAE will be presented.
Počivalšek will wrap up his visit to the country on Wednesday by visiting the Slovenian trailer producer Gorica Group, which is headquartered in Dubai.