Slovenia: Globally branded and seeking trade

| January 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
The ultralight Pipistrel aircraft is made in Slovenia.

The ultralight Pipistrel aircraft is made in Slovenia.

Throughout history, Slovenia has been at a crossroads of routes leading from east to west and north to south, with many influences shaping its character. Today, this can be seen in Slovenia’s cultural diversity, its adventuresome people, its vibrant economic activity and the valuable contributions of Slovenian scientists to the world. Positive results achieved by Slovenian companies are due to competitive advantages such as the traditional hard-working character of Slovenia’s highly educated people, reliability and innovativeness, an internationally oriented economy, high-quality industrial design and well-developed infrastructure.
Slovenian companies that have achieved global success primarily stem from the services sector, including the IT, pharmaceutical and automotive sectors. Slovenia’s economy excels at harnessing niche opportunities. Slovenians make Elan skis that are used by numerous skiing champions, the stylishly designed Gorenje appliances, Akrapovič motorcycle exhaust systems and the ultralight Pipistrel aircraft, a copy of which is exhibited at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s headquarters in Montreal.
Slovenia and Canada maintain close bilateral ties. We are convinced the new EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will mark the beginning of an even more dynamic chapter in our relations.
Slovenia’s current trade volume of $190 million is below capacity and includes exports of pharmaceuticals, turbines, electrical machinery, furniture, aircraft and aircraft parts.
Our main imports from Canada are airplanes, mechanical devices, nuclear reactors, aluminum and pharmaceuticals.
Some companies of Slovenian origin operate in Canada, including a subsidiary of Litostroj Power called Litostroj Hydro. Its most successful product in Canada is a turbine called Saxo. Hydro Québec, which is among the largest producers of hydropower in the world, is one of its customers.
Also present in Canada are Elan Sports and Interblock Casino Products Canada, a manufacturer of electronic-controlled slot machines for gambling. In Slovenia, Adria Airways Tehnika is working closely with Canada’s Bombardier as the regional maintenance hub for the Canadair regional jet in Europe.
The potential to increase economic co-operation lies particularly in the fields of logistics, transportation, automotive, energy, environmental technologies, food-processing, wood processing, chemicals, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Slovenia is also interested in Canada’s experience in public-private partnerships, which are becoming a model for financing projects in Slovenia.
My government  is aware of the importance of foreign investments for stronger economic growth in Slovenia and strives to attract it, particularly in the area of high technology and industries with higher added value. Several Slovenian state-owned enterprises are available for privatization and investment opportunities exist in many other sectors, including the tourism, manufacturing, automotive and banking industries.
Slovenia has a liberal foreign investment regime and does not distinguish between foreign and domestic investors. The movement of capital is fully liberalized and in line with EU rules. Companies, established or purchased by foreign nationals in Slovenia, have the same property rights as companies established by Slovenians. That is why they may own real estate without limitation. Since Slovenia’s accession to the EU, its citizens and legal entities have been permitted to freely and unconditionally invest in and acquire real estate in Slovenia and since 2010, when Slovenia became an OECD member, the same regime has applied to citizens and legal entities of other OECD countries, including Canada.
In science, Slovenians have always been immensely inquisitive. The world-renowned Jožef Stefan Institute pursues the mission of creating, disseminating and transferring knowledge in the fields of natural, technical and life sciences. It specializes in top-level research and technology development. It co-operates with multiple international research institutions and we are glad that Canadians are among them. The nuclear reactor for research training in Slovenia came from Canada.
Slovenia is a wonderful country to visit, yet it is still undiscovered by Canadians. Vacation opportunities abound: mountaineering, trekking, cycling, swimming, spas, rafting, kayaking, sailing, golf, hunting, fishing and others. Because the country is small, one can also enjoy the Alps, Pannonian Plains and Mediterranean Sea — all in one day. Due to its location, Slovenia offers incredibly varied culinary adventures, including world-class wines from three geographic regions. Two of the wines have been declared among the top-100 in the world and you can try some of them in Canada. All of this, combined with the legendary hospitality of the Slovenian people, will make a visit difficult to resist.

Marjan Cencen is the ambassador of Slovenia. Reach him at vot@gov.si or (613) 565-5781.

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Marjan Cencen is the ambassador of Slovenia. Reach him at vot@gov.si or (613) 565-5781.

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