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Minister Says Slovenia Open to Foreign Investment, But Cant Cut Taxes Now

Ljubljana, 18 March (STA) - Slovenia is open to foreign investment but has no room to make its business environment more appealing to investors by cutting taxes right now because its priority is to stabilise public finance, Finance Minister Franc Krizanic told an American business association in Slovenia.

Speaking at a business breakfast organised by the American Business Chamber in Slovenia, Krizanic said that Slovenia nevertheless had many examples of good practice in foreign investment.

He pointed to several grocers who operate in Slovenia and foreign banks, and made a special mention of the Kompas travel agency, which is owned by Croatia's Adriatica.net.

"We still use its services," he said in trying to dispel suggestions that Slovenia could not accept owners from a country with which it has had thorny relations for the most part since they both broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991.

The minister said that in accompanying Prime Minister Borut Pahor on his visit to the US in February he had the opportunity to hold talks with several serious potential American investors.

Krizanic said that Slovenia is prepared to promote FDI inflow through subsidies that are allocated based on value added, export-focus and environmental-friendliness of the investment.

"Slovenian companies are also appealing targets for takeovers, but this can have negative effects for Slovenia," he said.

As part of his appearance at the event, Krizanic also took stock of government measures aimed at restarting growth and fixing its financial system following the global credit crunch.

Meanwhile, AmCham head Tomaz Lovse said he was disappointed with the volume of US investments in Slovenia, but said he was hopeful the situation would improve in the near future.

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