- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

BRATISLAVA, May 1, (SITA)— In an interview with SITA, United States Ambassador to Slovakia Ronald Weiser said that U.S. companies are investing into Slovakia more than is indicated by the official statistics. Data from Slovakia's Central Bank suggest that direct U.S. foreign investments to Slovakia between January and September 2001 reached SKK 1. 314 billion, which is 4.6 percent of all the foreign investments into Slovakia. In 2000, the U.S. direct investments presented SKK 5 billion.

"The statistics are wrong. All you have to do is to look at the investment of U.S. Steel by itself, which is considerably more than the total amount that is reported by the NBS," Mr. Weiser stressed. According to him, the investments of U.S. companies are much bigger than the NBS data because companies like Whirlpool or U.S. Steel have made substantial investments in this country. "I think that part of the problem might be that instead of looking at the ultimate source of the capital, the NBS looks at where the company

that has the ownership of the shares is registered," Mr. Weiser explained. In several cases the company is registered in some countries of Europe, but the main source of the capital is coming from the United

States. "We want to put together our own statistics in order to better reflect what U.S. investments are to Slovakia," the ambassador said.

Mr. Weiser also reported that an expert group from Michigan University visited Slovakia to assist small- and medium-size wine producers in Slovakia. They presented a preliminary report to the leadership of the industry representatives of the ministry of agriculture. "The group did visit a number of wine producers in eastern Slovakia, and I believe that the report they will prepare will be helpful not only to looking to expand

wine export and investments in Slovakia, but to understand issues and problems they might be facing once they join the European Union," Mr. Weiser explained.

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