FOREIGN Minister Eduard Kukan has promised to help expedite administrative problems for foreign experts working with companies investing in Slovakia, after meeting with representatives from Brazilian company Embraco.
Katarína Čániová, Embraco media relations officer, explained that a number of Brazilian specialists for the factory in Spišská Nová Ves, east Slovakia, were struggling to obtain work permits.
"The Slovak government has an interest in foreign investors. Embraco is planning to expand its operations on the basis of economic results, which would increase the number of available jobs. I have an interest in making sure that these Brazilians working here do not have any problems," said Kukan.
Kukan's concern for the support of foreign investors is justified by the number of Slovaks employed by Embraco. Čániová says that the company plans to employ 2,000 workers by the end of this year, with the figure rising by another 500 next year.
The Brazilian refrigeration equipment producer employs over 9,000 people worldwide, with other plants in Brazil, India, and China.
The company announced in February that it was ready to invest a further €8.8 million into its Spišská Nová Ves plant. Since 1997 the company has invested a total of about €90 million in Slovakia.
Embraco has a dominant position in the world compressor market, and more than a quarter of refrigerators across the world incorporate its components. Last year the company produced almost 2 million compressors in Slovakia and expects output to double within two years.
Currently, Embraco sources 10.5 percent of its components from Slovakia but is looking to increase this figure to 14 percent by the end of 2003. As a result, Embraco's presence in the country is also attracting other investors.
In June representatives from 15 Brazilian companies paid a five-day visit to Slovakia to look into investment opportunities. Many of the visitors were from firms currently supplying Embraco and were looking to create Slovak bases to supply components for the Spišská Nová Ves plant.
During their trip the guests also visited US Steel Košice's centre for economic development and the SARIO state investment agency. The National Labour Office agreed to keep the companies up to date with information on EU structural funds available for the Spiš region.
Carlos Roberto de Campos from Embraco supplier CRW de Plasticos, which makes plastic components, declared an interest in investing €20 million in Slovakia, and creating a further 80 jobs.
Other suppliers seem set to follow his example.
José Carlos Gonçcalves from Metalway told the economic weekly Trend: "If my friend Carlos Roberto [de Campos] is coming to Slovakia, so will I. Embraco is like a locomotive and we are wagons."
- Compiled from press reports
21. Jul 2003 at 0:00