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President and Management Guru Say Slovenia Must Recognise Success Stories

Ljubljana, 15 December (STA) - President Danilo Tuerk and respected Slovenian management expert Peter Kraljic said on Wednesday Slovenia must recognise its comparative advantages and business success stories and be proud of them.

Speaking at a press event in Ljubljana, Tuerk and Kraljic said Slovenia must be aware of its geographic location, the know-how of its people and links to Eastern markets.

The are many things Slovenia can be proud of, which is why it must be positive and look to tap into its advantages, the pair said in addressing a presentation of the publication on October's FDI Summit in Bled.

Tuerk told STA after today's event that Slovenia has experience and establishing successful business cooperation models. He pointed to the automobile cluster, saying that other sectors should look at such forms of cooperation.

This was echoed by Kraljic, the director emeritus of international management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, who said that Slovenia's advantages in business were raised at October's conference.

Kraljic added that foreign investors were very happy with what they achieved in Slovenia. "For example Revoz. It is among the top five plants in the whole Renault and Nissan chain."

"We don't seem to be aware of...what our workers are capable of. This is a good example of how foreign investment pays for Slovenia," Kraljic said.

He reiterated that Slovenia must look to attract foreign direct investment. "If money streams into Slovenia, new technologies and know-how will follow."

Asked about criticism voiced recently by US Ambassador to Slovenia Joseph Mussomeli that Slovenia is not open enough to foreign investment, Tuerk pointed to the investment by Goodyear in Slovenian tyre producer Sava Tyres. This has been a success story, he said.

The president added that Slovenia needed to examine which American companies are interesting for Slovenia. "After all, the US is present on markets the world over and one cannot expect that they would be focusing on Slovenia".

Kraljic said that the ambassador's criticism may be warranted. He reiterated the view that Slovenians should show greater readiness to promote their country abroad.

In this respect, he said that the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI) should be given a greater role in representing Slovenia abroad and that Slovenia should draw up a plan of attracting large foreign investors.

"In doing so, it must provide the conditions that an investor demands, including the workforce, land and subsidies - at least in the initial phase. Some countries have done this very well and Slovenia can improve in this respect."

Both Tuerk and Kraljic agreed that Slovenia will not become more appealing to investors merely by securing an American investment. They emphasised that Slovenia must also look to appeal to European, Chinese and Brazilian investors.

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