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Minister Han visits Bavaria: "The potential for cooperation is enormous"

Today, Minister Han attended the business and investment congress "Invest&Connect Slovenian Business Pitch: Germany Experiences Slovenia" in Munich. He also discussed opportunities for strengthening economic cooperation with Hubert Aiwanger, Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria and Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy.

Linking top-level sports, business, science and tourism

The Business and Investment Congress, organised by the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, the public agency SPIRIT Slovenia, and the Football Association of Slovenia and supported by the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Germany, the Consulate General of the Republic of Slovenia in Munich, and the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is one of the largest Slovenian-German business conferences in recent times. It has brought together top-level sports, business, science and tourism and strengthened cooperation between Slovenian and German partners. Representatives of over 150 Slovenian and German companies, business associations and institutions are creating new economic and business opportunities in both markets.

At the opening of the congress, Minister Han expressed his satisfaction at the large turnout: "This shows that there is a great interest in deepening business ties with Bavaria. At the same time, it also shows that sport brings people together. And sporting events such as EURO 2024 represent an excellent opportunity to promote sports, tourism and the economy and to strengthen all-round cooperation." Economic cooperation with Bavaria has traditionally been excellent: "Bavaria is one of our largest and most important foreign trade partners. We have been able to forge strong, solid ties. We hold both Bavaria's industrial tradition and its acumen in the most demanding high-tech innovations and developments in high regard. In many respects, Bavaria is a role model for us," Han emphasised. On further deepening cooperation, he added that whether it would happen was not in any doubt: "The key is how, in which areas and how fast we will cooperate. And above all, in this complex geostrategic situation, we need to quickly identify untapped potentials and support each other as partners."

Congress participants had the opportunity to listen to panels on successful partnerships, the opportunities and challenges of Slovenian-German business cooperation, the automotive industry as the flagship of cooperation between the two countries, and the future of cooperation between the two economies in the fields of high-tech and innovation.

Talks with Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria and Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy Aiwanger on strengthening cooperation

On the margins of the Congress, Minister Han also met with Hubert Aiwanger, Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria and Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy. During their talks, the two leaders discussed the 50th anniversary of the Permanent Joint Bavarian-Slovenian Commission and the priority areas of economic cooperation agreed by both sides. They agreed that economic cooperation between Slovenia and Bavaria is excellent and that it is important to continue to intensively seek opportunities for cooperation, in particular in the fields of space technologies, green and digital transformation of the automotive industry, and start-ups.

In his talks with Minister Aiwanger, Minister Han invited Bavaria to participate in next year's International Crafts Fair in Celje (MOS), with a view to Bavaria being a partner of MOS 2025. He also invited Mr Aiwanger to participate in one of the most important technology and start-up events in Europe – the PODIM conference.

The two Ministers also exchanged views on the introduction of anti-subsidy duties on imports of electric vehicles from China and discussed strengthening cooperation between Slovenia and Bavaria in other new technologies (biotechnology, nanotechnology and quantum technologies), environmental technologies, digitisation and smart solutions in the context of Industry 4.0, blockchain and semiconductor technology, e-health, the circular economy, artificial intelligence, the data space, mobile services in transport, logistics, and the food industry.

Minister Han and the delegation also met with the BMW Group management and with Slovenian Tomaž Starman, designer and quality manager for delivered parts at BMW. During the meeting, the Slovenian Minister advocated the integration of Slovenian companies into the BMW supplier network and exchanged information on current developments in the European automotive industry and its competitiveness vis-à-vis Chinese car manufacturers.

Minister Han will conclude the day with a reception to mark Slovenia's National Day and the appearance of the Slovenian men's national football team at the EURO 2024 European Football Championship.

Opportunities for strengthening economic cooperation

Germany, and within it the federal state of Bavaria, is a priority market for Slovenia in terms of trade in goods, services, investment and tourism. Slovenia and Bavaria are both strong economies. Slovenia sees opportunities to deepen cooperation, particularly in the areas of start-ups and innovation promotion, space technologies, green and digital transformation of the automotive industry, hydrogen technologies, and tourism.

Economic importance of Germany and Bavaria

Germany is one of Slovenia's most important foreign trade partners. In 2023, the volume of trade amounted to EUR 14.4 billion. Germany ranks 4th in terms of foreign direct investment, this amounting to EUR 1.8 billion. There are currently 721 companies with German capital operating in Slovenia, and according to the Sloexport database of Slovenian exporters, 2,546 Slovenian companies export to Germany.

Bavaria ranked second among the German federal states in terms of the volume of trade in goods in 2023. Slovenian trade with Bavaria accounts for 20.2% of total trade with Germany. Total trade with Bavaria amounted to EUR 2.8 billion in 2023. In 2023, Slovenian exports to and imports from Bavaria amounted to EUR 1.7 billion and EUR 1.2 billion respectively, generating a foreign trade surplus of almost EUR 518 million.

While the core of Slovenian exports to Bavaria continues to be semi-finished products and components, especially for the electrical, mechanical engineering and automotive industries, the main Bavarian exports to Slovenia are finished products, primarily cars and machinery.

In 2023, tourists from Germany were by far the most numerous foreign visitors to Slovenia. Last year, 700,810 guests from Germany visited Slovenia (an increase of 3%) and spent 1,894,039 overnight stays (an increase of 5%), accounting for 16% of all foreign overnight stays in Slovenia.