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The Slovenian-Belarus Business Conference in Maribor Launched

With over 130 participants the first in a series of several international business conferences organised by the City Municipality of Maribor – the Slovenian Belarus Business Forum – was launched today in Hotel Habakuk. In the framework of the conference business representatives from Maribor and Slovenia will get acquainted with more than 45 investors from Belarus and familiarise themselves with ways of enhancing mutual collaboration.

In his introductory speech, the Mayor of the City Municipality of Maribor, Dr. Andrej Fištravec, said: “Once an industrial capital of Yugoslavia, Maribor is seeking new opportunities. In doing so we could not ignore Belarus. The Slovenian Belarus Business Conference is the first in a series of business conferences or forums which will be carefully organised in Maribor to bring together entrepreneurs from Maribor and Slovenia with those from abroad. I am convinced that in their business talks they will not stay only with words but will realise them sooner or later.”

During his address, Mag. Franci But, Ambassador and coordinator for economic diplomacy in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, remarked: “Our business diplomacy section is here to help and to be at your convenience, we are open for suggestions. We welcome the www.investinmaribor.eu portal in which Maribor – after some time – has stated what it has to offer. We believe that today’s forum will contribute to a growth in the trade in goods between Slovenia and Belarus which will be evident in a year or two.”

In his speech, Andrei Avramenko, Adviser for Political Questions, Culture and Mass Media at the Belarus Embassy in Budapest, pointed out the following: “We would like to see all municipalities use their strengths and organise meetings similar to the Slovenian Belarus Business Conference, and thus play their role in establishing business contacts. It is my opinion that this business conference represents an ideal platform for the Belarus market to open up to the European Union.”

In the framework of the business conference an open table discussion on the possibilities arising from cooperation between Slovenian and Belarus companies moderated by Katja Šeruga, the Chief Editor of Večer daily newspaper, was held.

During the discussion, Roman Proskalovich, project manager in the investment department of the Belarus National Agency of Investment and Privatisation, said: “In the Belarus economy there are a couple of notable branches. One of them, in which the economy is well developing and growing, is information technology. In addition, other significant opportunities for development exist; this year, for example, we were able to adapt complex reforms with the help of the International Bank in a very short period. Statistics on investment growth in Belarus show that in the period between 2007 and 2015 they increased four-fold.”

Andrey Doronin, Deputy Director of Belaz, one of the world's ten largest manufacturers of trucks, stated: “We have identified many opportunities for cooperation in Slovenia because so far we have not presented the full range of our products here. We are making every effort to enter your market; actually we are carrying out certification at the moment. We will invest as much as possible in Slovenia. Last year, we invested 30 to 35 million US Dollars in the supply of equipment and new technologies. During the break in today’s event I already found a couple of Slovenian entrepreneurial counterparts. I invite all Slovenian companies to take a look at our web page where all the tenders are published, and apply.”

Leon Lebar, Director of the Investments Section at SID Bank, said: “When political problems arise, such as the ones in Russia and the Ukraine, commercial banks withdraw. Even in such specific circumstances the SID Bank remains because this is the role of the state.”

Tomorrow, during the business conference, Slovenian and Belarus business representatives will get an opportunity to hold individual talks.