ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Cabinet discusses limiting drink imports from Czech Republic

The Slovak cabinet discussed imposing a ceiling of 427,000 hectoliters annually on the import of soft drinks from the Czech Republic at a meeting in the last week of February, but decided to postpone a decision until April. The reason is that the Czech Republic accounts for 80 percent of all soft drink imports into Slovakia. The government's decision to delay a decision is due to an agreement made with the Czech Republic in December 1996, stipulating that both countries should only monitor mutual trade with sensitive commodities in the first quarter of 1997.

The Institute for Forecasting of the Slovak Academy of Sciences on February 10 made public its forecast for 1997. Aming the highlighst are these: "More than in previous years, economic development in 1997 will be dependent on the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies, of which the primary goal should be keeping the Slovak currency stable. While the income side of the government budget stems from rational expectations of a decline in the share of tax revenues on GDP, the expenditures side is more short-term oriented rather than respective of objective needs. The deficit for 1997 severely deepens internal indebtedness, increases the risk of losing price and exchange rate stability, and amplifies the risk of an increase in Slovakia's external debts."

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