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AmCham Slovenija head calls for more investment-friendly environment (interview)

Ljubljana, 10 July (STA) - AmCham Slovenija president Nevenka Kržan, who is finishing her second term at the helm of the chamber, believes there should be better awareness about the benefits of new investments in Slovenia, although the country has made some progress in that respect lately.


The country has opened up to foreign investors to a certain extent during the last four years, says the head of the American business chamber in Slovenia, listing the privatisations of Abanka and NLB as examples.

However, Kržan, a senior partner of the KPMG management consultancy, says this change of attitude could be accelerated, and calls for equal treatment of domestic and foreign investors.

According to her, maintaining long-term stability and predictability of economic policies and business environment is key to such progress, particularly in terms of tax policies. "Capital is looking for stability."

While welcoming the planned tax changes reducing the tax wedge, she points out that Slovenia will need more profound changes to attract more industry and services with high added value.

Kržan supports the government's plan to introduce a minimum corporate income tax rate, but is not in favour of raising the nominal corporate income tax rate or higher capital gains taxes, which, according to her, would be detrimental not only to companies but also to public finances in general.

Commenting on the US investments in Slovenia in the past few years, including the purchase of NKBM and Abanka banks, abrasive maker Swaty Comet and chemical company Albaugh, formerly known as Pinus Rače, Kržan says Slovenia is slowly becoming more attractive for US investors.

She believes "many medium-sized companies with highly competitive niche products" could be particularly interesting for foreign investors.

Nevertheless, Kržan was somewhat disappointed over the very overt lobbying of US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for US gas and for nuclear technology at June's Three Seas Initiative summit in Ljubljana.

She says AmCham Slovenija is more than just an advocate of US capital, bringing together around 360 domestic- and fooreign-owned companies which employ more than 66,000 workers. It also develops strategies for cooperation between the private and public sectors.

She feels US business chambers in Europe are still wrongly perceived as advocates of US policies and that US President Donald Trump's protectionism, which seems "quite immature", is "not the best starting point for recognising the US as a business partner".