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Slovenia sees higher 2014 GDP growth as exports rise
by Marja Novak

Reuters    Translate This Article
21 November 2014

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia, which narrowly avoided an international bailout last year, expects growth in 2014 to surpass the government's September forecast of 2 percent, Deputy Prime Minister Dejan Zidan said on Friday.

'We can expect economic growth this year to reach 2.4 percent based on high growth of exports,' Zidan told a conference of Slovenian and Chinese businessmen.

Slovenia has been in recession the last two years largely because of a fall in domestic spending and investment.

Slovenia's export-oriented economy is focused on European Union markets, which account for as much as 77 percent of the country's foreign sales.

But the country hopes to reduce this dependence on EU trade and Zidan said Slovenia wants to increase exports to China, which at present represent only a fraction of Slovenian sales.

'I expect we could increase exports to China in the areas of car parts, electrical equipment parts, tourism, food and wine,' he said.

China's Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang told the same conference that China was ready to support private-public partnerships that would develop Slovenian ports, airports and energy firms.

Zidan said that although Slovenia wanted to keep state control of its main port, Luka Koper, it could form a partnership with China to expand Luka and the railway line leading to it.

'Talks on this will continue in the coming months,' he said.

Slovenia, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, was badly hit by the global crisis due to its dependency on exports. It managed to avoid an international bailout last year by pumping more than 3 billion euros of state money into local banks which are mostly state-owned.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Crispian Balmer)

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