The conference was organized in Ljubljana on 16th of January by the Embassy of the Republic of France in Slovenia, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia, Business France and the Public Agency SPIRIT Slovenia.
France is traditionally one of the five key foreign trade partners of Slovenia, said Boštjan Gorjup, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. The significance of trade between countries is long-term business and a strong focus on the segment of the automotive industry. The volume of bilateral trade increased by 4.7% in 2016 to reach EUR 2.12 billion in 2016. There is an even bigger increase in 2017 – 26%, which is directly related to the greater export of Renault models to France. In the future, it wants France to become not only a major foreign trade partner, but also to include products from other sectors in the export.
Bruno Roquier-Vicat and Sébastien Aldegué, Business France, emphasized the attractiveness of France as the fifth largest economy in the world. The establishment of the company in France provides direct access to the market over 66 million. consumers with high purchasing power. France is also an excellent entry point for the markets of the Middle East and Asia. The leading sectors for foreign investment are information technologies, agro-food industry, automotive, energy and clean technologies, space technology and tourism.
According to Helena Schlamberger, Spirit Slovenia, France is the 7th in terms of value of investments in Slovenia (EUR 633 million, 2016). She also spoke about the competitive advantages of our market.
At the round table, representatives of some companies discussed further possibilities for strengthening cooperation. Leon Lozar, Aquasystems, says that while Slovenians are very effective, they are too small and too small to be ambitious. We need to be more dynamic and ambitious in business. Tomaž Žnidarič, Ljubljanske mlekarne, believes that Slovenia, especially as a green country, has great potential, but foreign investors have to find us first. Therefore, we must put more effort into this. He highlighted the importance of personal contacts in cooperation with French companies. This was confirmed by Aleš Bizjak, Poclain Hydraulics, who also stressed the need to build trust.
Slovenia is still not recognized as a major technological force, it was critical, and added that more attention should be paid to the integration of young people into the international environment. According to Kaan Ozkan, REVOZ, Slovenia has many competitive advantages, but at the same time, there is great potential for strengthening cooperation between France and Slovenia. In his opinion, our country is still under-market-oriented and ambitious. Matej Čufer, Gorenje, also advised the knowledge of French culture and language when companies decide to do business on the French market.
Jean-Pierre Mesić, Renault Nissan Slovenia and the President of the Club presented the French-Slovenian Business Club, which will be a meeting place for the exchange and exchange of experience and knowledge between representatives of Slovenian and French companies interested in operations in both markets. Its goal will be to contribute to the further strengthening of economic and business relations between the two countries.
The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Boštjan Gorjup concluded the event with the words that he believes that today’s event will contribute to even greater economic cooperation. For this, we have great economic potential, as well as interest, which is confirmed by the number of participants at the event. Our goal should be to increase trade by 2025 to 3.5 billion by 2025. Euros.