SLOVAKIA has relatively active foreign trade with some small, rich southeast Asian countries, but less investment flows from them. Asian investors agree that this is because Slovakia does not advertise itself enough.In many of these countries, Slovakia does not even have trade-economic departments in its embassies, or a commercial attaché. Commercial and trade representations aren’t opening in the Slovak embassies in Thailand and Taiwan for another year or two.
When they do open, the new departments will refine Slovakia’s image, extend opportunities for economic cooperation, create sufficient room for export of goods and services, support the influx of direct foreign investment, support export productivity and competitiveness, and provide high-quality information and analyses, the Economy Ministry told the SITA newswire.
The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO), which promotes foreign investment, has been doing its part by hosting entrepreneurs and representatives from Asian countries.
Between January and September 2007, SARIO facilitated six investment projects from Taiwan, five from India, four from China and two from Malaysia.
This July, Slovakia received a visit from George M. Ammerlaan, the director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Benelux and Eastern Europe division.
The result was an agreement to set up a forum and service that will assist Slovak firms interested in exporting to Hong Kong. The council has described Hong Kong as an attractive destination for Slovak luxury goods, such as exclusive wines and other alcoholic beverages, as well as tourism.
The parties also agreed that Slovakia should be advertised more in Hong Kong, where people tend to favour products from Western Europe.
Back in 2007, eight Taiwanese companies and four representatives of Taiwanese institutions visited to inspect industrial parks, according to SARIO.
And in 2006, a group of 36 Taiwanese businessmen participated in a trade and investment mission to Slovakia.
Wayne Wu, Taiwan’s commercial attaché to Slovakia, confirmed in 2007 that the reason behind the low amount of investment is that Slovakia is not often presented to Taiwanese businesses.
Yet the Slovak business and investment environment is very interesting for Taiwanese, so they want it to become more known among businesses, Wu said last November, according to the SARIO website.
Among the Asian firms investing in Slovakia are Delta, a Taiwanese-Thai producer of power supply components, which opened its production operation in Dubnica nad Váhom in May 2007. Delta invested $20 million in Delta Electronics (Slovakia) and created 800 jobs, SITA wrote.
TV manufacturer OVP Orava, in Trstená, cooperates with the Taiwanese company Teco. The latter invested around Sk30 million in the company’s equipment.
Taiwanese company AU Optronics, an LCD TV panel producer, is still seeking a new home for its European plant worth around €300 million, and Slovakia is among the candidates.
According to the Slovak Statistics Office, Slovakia had a negative trade balance of Sk32.5 billion with Taiwan last year. That was its fourth highest trade deficit. The fifth highest was with Malaysia, at Sk5.8 billion.