At the largest import fair in China, running between Tuesday and Sunday, Slovenia is presented at two pavilions - the national and winter pavilion - under the sponsorship of the investment and entrepreneurship promotion agency Spirit.
Počivalšek, who was on hand for the opening, told the STA that trade with China had amounted to EUR 1.4 billion last year, with Slovenia recording a EUR 600 million deficit, mostly as a result of two-thirds of imports being exported to third countries.
"Nevertheless, the Slovenian economy must strive to narrow this deficit, including with investments", he said, adding that Slovenia, which exported 85% of its production, should be present more in what would become the largest economy in the world in a few years.
"I wish that Slovenia becomes, in the near future, and perhaps even next year, a partner of this fair, which would provide it with an additional boost on the Slovenian market," the minister said, adding that the country needed to promote high-quality products.
As an example of good practice, Počivalšek singled out the cable harnesses maker Cablex, which has a plant in Xuzhou that employs 350 workers and generates EUR 20 million in annual revenue. It is an example of success on the fast-growing Chinese market, and other companies should follow suit, he added.
The company is showcased in the national pavilion, which features another ten companies, while innovative products and solutions for winter sports are presented by nine companies and two organisations in the winter pavilion.
Slovenian hi-tech and winter sports equipment companies participating in the fair are satisfied with Slovenia's presentation as they believe China is a large and important market offering potential to many companies.
As China will soon host the Winter Olympic Games, and projections show that as many as 300 million Chinese will be active in winter sports by 2024, companies from the industry are trying to seize the opportunity, said Sandi Murovec of the skiing solutions company Muri Design.
Also interested in the Chinese market is the shoe and ski boots maker Alpina, which currently has a modest presence in China but hopes that the 2020 Winter Olympics will popularise winter sports and increase demand for its products, especially high-end ones.
Mare Santo, which produces the eponymous sparkling wine which ages in the sea water instead in cellars, is also part of the Slovenian presentation. The glassworks Steklarna Hrastnik meanwhile sees the fair as an opportunity to present its products for drinks, perfumes and cosmetics.
Slovenia and its economy will also be showcased in the next two years at a permanent exhibition in the G-Hub centre, where practically all major exporters and numerous multinational companies are featured.
According to Počivalšek, the exhibition will present Slovenia as "green, creative, smart" and as a country of hi-tech, innovative products and services.