Singapore, Monday, 23 November 2009 - Slovak Republic may be a non-traditional market to the Singapore business community but it can be a potential and stable place to invest in the Central Europe region, as participants learnt during a recent dialogue with His Excellency Stefan Rozkopal, Ambassador of Slovak Republic to Singapore. They were updated on the Slovak Republic's economy and the business and investment opportunities in key sectors at the session moderated by Mr. Teng Theng Dar, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).
In his address, H.E. Rozkopal gave a brief introduction on the country's current economic situation and highlighted the stability of the economy amongst the countries of the Central Europe region. Slovak Republic experienced a 6.4% GDP growth in 2008 and is in a strategic location with great export potential especially since the country's recent entry into the Eurozone in 2009. It not only boasts a 19% flat tax rate for businesses but also low labour cost and a highly skilled workforce with nearly 95% of the population having a secondary or tertiary education. Apart from these, the Ambassador shared with the participants that the best investment opportunities are in research and development of automotives design, Information Communications Technology (ICT) and software development, renewable and clean energy and optoelectronics. The sectors actively mentioned in his presentations are the automotives, electronics, and tourism, of which, he noted that Slovak Republic was the top car producer with a planned output of 300,000 cars per year.
With current economic challenges, SBF has been proactively assisting Singapore companies to venture overseas to seek opportunities in new and emerging markets. The session, which had attracted 17 senior level representatives from the automotives, electronics, ICT, trading, logistics and tourism industries, signified the interest of the business community to venture into less traditional markets of the region.
During the dialogue session, IT and Telecommunications companies participated actively and fielded questions related to the ICT industry. Besides, some companies had expressed their keenness to use Slovakia as a base for their forays into the Eastern Europe market. On this note, the Ambassador informed the participants that there are harmonized investment incentives from the government for the development of ICT related initiatives in the Slovak Republic.
In terms of logistics, Mr. Rozkopal said that the Bratislava Airport is currently seeking partners to build up its logistic centres. Logistic companies may explore the potential logistical requirements arising from the Greenfield Automotive-related projects in Slovak Republic. Additionally, the Ambassador noted the possibility to pursue the incorporation of joint technological ventures into third countries; leveraging the strengths of both countries. The topic on tourism had also sparked off candid discussions that were centered on the accessibility of the country and the investment potential in developing theme parks, golf courses and hotels in the country. It could be the next new tour destination for Singaporeans.
The ambassador in his closing remarks urged Singapore businessmen to look to Slovak Republic as the Central European hub with vast potential for strategic partnerships in innovation and R&D projects.
For more information on Slovak Republic related events, please contact
Executive, GBD Europe and Central Asia
Singapore Business Federation
Tel: 6827 6887
Singapore shared a kindred spirit with the Slovak Republic since both were small countries. As relations were problem-free, there is a need to increase awareness among Singapore businessmen on the many investment opportunities in the Slovak Republic. Since its entry into EU in 2004, Slovak Republic has attracted FDIs into sectors like automotive related manufacturing, electronics, ICT, tourism and R&D industries. The population's growing affluence and buying power grew together with the economy's development.
On bilateral trade front, total trade between Singapore and Slovak Republic rose by 14% from 2007 to more than S$133 million in 2008. Overall, Slovak Republic was Singapore's 100th largest trading partner in 2008 with the balance of trade in Singapore's favor. Exports rose by 14% from S$62.3 million in 2007 to S$71.1 million in 2008. Key exports are parts for office machines, electronic valves and telecommunications equipment. Imports also rose by 14% from S$54.6 million in 2007 to S$62.2 million in 2008. Main import items were electronic valves, electrical circuit apparatus, and telecommunication equipments.