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THE CABINET TO DISCLOSE STATE CONTRACTS WITH CARMAKERS AMID ASSURANCES THAT BUSINESS SECRETS WILL BE KEPT

Secrets, land prices trouble investment

THE CABINET will disclose the investment contracts with car giants PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Hyundai/Kia, except for information subject to confidentiality provisions.
The cabinet wrapped up a weary debate over whether to reveal or conceal the investment data when ministers unambiguously leaned towards the Justice Ministry's stand urging the cabinet to disclose the contract.
"Only those parts of the contract that pertain to technological details will remain concealed," said Justice Minister Daniel Lipšic, who warned in early June that concealing information on stimuli to foreign investors coming to Slovakia violated the law on the free access to information.

THE CABINET will disclose the investment contracts with car giants PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Hyundai/Kia, except for information subject to confidentiality provisions.

The cabinet wrapped up a weary debate over whether to reveal or conceal the investment data when ministers unambiguously leaned towards the Justice Ministry's stand urging the cabinet to disclose the contract.

"Only those parts of the contract that pertain to technological details will remain concealed," said Justice Minister Daniel Lipšic, who warned in early June that concealing information on stimuli to foreign investors coming to Slovakia violated the law on the free access to information.

Earlier in July, Kia said that it did not wish the contract to be disclosed to the public as it includes information subject to confidentiality provisions.

Though Lipšic did not see any risks in approving public access to the contract, Economy Minister Pavol Rusko said that the Korean investor might consider the proceeding a violation of the contract provisions and claim damages.

Rusko, who voted in line with the ministers in favour of the disclosure, said in early July that, if he were to disrespect Kia's wishes, he would risk being criminally prosecuted for revealing business secrets.

According to the document that the Economy Ministry submitted to the cabinet, the investment contract with Kia Motors Corporation marks the content of the investment agreement a business secret and binds the parties to keep the content confidential. The same applies to the contract signed with Hyundai Mobis. The contract signed with PSA Peugeot Citroen obliges the parties to preserve confidentiality of the parts that are classified as business secrets.

The cabinet is expected to submit the contracts to parliament on July 15. Subsequently, the document will also appear on the Economy Ministry's website.

The Justice Ministry also claimed that no business secrets would be revealed.

"The Commercial Code exactly defines what is considered a business secret. No business secrets will be revealed," Justice Ministry Spokesman Richard Fides told The Slovak Spectator in an earlier interview.

In addition to the data disclosure debate, there are some prevailing problems with the purchase of the land for Kia, which has chosen Žilina, Slovakia over Poland as the location for its new €700 million plant.

Some landowners reluctant to sell their land for the price offered by the state have filed complaints claiming that work has started on their property without their consent.

According to the private TV channel Markíza, Fedor Flašík, who is associated with the opposition party Smer, advised owners not to sell their land unless the state pays them a higher price.

Žilina mayor Ján Slota warned that someone was deceitfully trying to hinder the purchase of the land [See an interview with Slota on page 5].

Stanislav Vinc, general manager of the Žilina project said that Žilina Invest has secured the purchase of 80 percent of the land for Hyundai Mobis and 70 percent of the land for Kia Motors.

The opinions of land value experts vary between Sk103 (€2.58) and Sk146 (€3.66) per square metre. Some landowners have demanded that the price be set at Sk350 (€8.77) per square metre.

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