Slovenia exported 1.041 billion Euro worth of goods

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In October, Slovenia exported 1.041 billion Euro worth of goods, while imports reached an amount of 1.044 billion Euro. This means the country's trade deficit stood at 3.28 million Euro - half that of September's level, when it reached seven million Euro, according to preliminary data released by the National Statistical Office. In comparison to October last year, exports went up 8.7 percent, while imports rose three percent. The figures indicate a 3.5 percent monthly increase in imports, while ...


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Croatia, Yugoslavia ink interim border protocol

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Croatia and Yugoslavia last Tuesday signed a protocol regulating a temporary border regime in a disputed area in the southern Adriatic, HINA news agency said, quoted in a dpa report. The disputed Prevlaka peninsula, to which both countries lay claim, is located on Croatia's southern border with Montenegro, the smaller partner in the current Yugoslav federation. The little peninsula has been demilitarised and monitored by a small team of UN observers since 1992. Croatia's Foreign Minister Tonino ...


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Talks stalled on Brijuni Islands development project

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A project slated to bring Croatia's tourism industry millions of Euro has hit a stumbling block as negotiations between the government and several foreign business people regarding the development of elite tourism on the Brijuni Islands failed following almost three years of talks. The reason given is the lack of commitment shown by the government, Bluebull reported. Subsequently, the government needs to shortly launch an international tender and finally stipulate on what terms and conditions fo...


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Croatia has high percentage of pirated software – report

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According to a Jutarnji list reported last Wednesday, the software crime rate in Croatia is between 70 and 75 percent and led to losses of more than USD 120 million dollars last year. Quoting the Croatian Association of Professional Software Manufacturers (BSA), the daily said the software crime rate in 2000 was 63 percent, resulting in losses of about USD 57 million. BSA further said that a couple of years ago, 90 percent of software in the country was illegal, a dpa report noted. "Our aim is t...


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Croatia becomes 8th CEFTA member

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Economy Minister Ljubo Jurcic has signed an agreement to join the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), meaning Croatia the organisation's eighth member. Following the signing of the agreement and its ratification in CEFTA countries as well as Croatia, a market of around 100 million people will open up to the country, Bluebull reported. Realistically, Croatia is expected to become a full CEFTA member in the first quarter of 2003....


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NKBM profits reach 9 mln Euro in Q1-Q3

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Slovenia's second largest bank, Nova Kreditna banka Maribor (NKBM), has increased its total assets by 7.9 percent in the first nine months of the year to raise it to 483.23 billion tolars (2.1 billion Euro), making profits of 2.12 billion tolars (9.23 million Euro) over the period.
The company's news follows the discussion by the NKBM supervisory board regarding the business results of the period from January to September as well as the planned merger between NKBM and Postna banka Slovenije, Sl...


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2003 export growth to fall short of target: IMAD

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Outlining Slovenia's economic prospects for 2003 at a panel of local businessmen in the coastal city of Koper Monday before last, Janez Sustersic, head of the state Institute of Macroeconomic Analyses and Development (IMAD) noted that the country's exports growth will stand at six percent next year, which is lower than anticipated.
Economic growth is to amount to 3.2 percent this year, and is expected to stand at 3.7 percent next year, while inflation is expected to reach six percent at the end...


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Compaq and HP will make merger formal by January

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The merger of US computer firms Compaq and Hewlett-Packard (HP) has also had an impact on the Slovenian subsidiary of the former Compaq, Compaq Computer. The Slovenian branch has already in practice merged with the country's HP branch, with the formal procedure to be realised this January, according to the manager of Slovenian Compaq, Iztok Dernovsek.
The future Slovenian HP subsidiary generated the biggest share - 35 percent - of its second semester revenues through sales of personal computers...


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President Cavic nominates new BiH prime minister

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The president of the Bosnian Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, Dragan Cavic has nominated Dragan Mikerevic as the republic's new prime minister. According to Bosnian media, Cavic, of the Bosnian nationalist Serb Democratic Party (SDS), called on Mikerevic of the moderate Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) to accept the post and help form a government which would then be approved by the Bosnian Serb National Assembly, a dpa report noted.
Prior to his nomination, Mikerevic had been chair of Bosni...


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Yugoslav ambassador in Washington after 15 months

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For the first time in more than a year, Yugoslavia has a new ambassador in the US. Ivan Vujacic presented his credentials to President George W Bush last Monday at the White House.
"Our two countries are now united by a common commitment to democracy and the rule of law as well as by a shared vision of peace, security and prosperity," Vujacic told Bush, quoted by AP. He said his country and the US were cooperating to remove radioactive materials from Yugoslav scientific facilities in efforts to...


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Bosnian ethnic groups to collect new ID card

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Bosnia-Herzegovina's central government last Tuesday introduced in Sarajevo a new ID card that will be issued to all citizens throughout the country, regardless of their national or ethnic origin. Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the country's 1992-1995 war, the three major Bosnian ethnic groups have been using different versions of ID cards, dpa reported.
The new, neutral ID card, free of ethnic or national connotation should further facilitate the country's progres...


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Yugoslav, Slovenian ministers agree positive relations

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According to Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, Yugoslavia and Slovenia have made considerable progress in bilateral cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic ties two years ago, since which time the countries have signed 17 agreements. Yugoslav counterpart Goran Svilanovic agreed with the statement during talks held Thursdaybl following the participation by both at the opening of Slovenian retailer Mercator's new shopping centre in the Yugoslav capital.
"When Slovenia in Yugosl...


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Another round of failed polls gives leaders a knuckle rapping

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Facing more instability and discontent after Serbia again failed to elect a president last Sunday, democratic leaders in Belgrade were told to finally stop squabbling, or even early parliamentary elections will not resolve the stalemate, dpa correspondent Boris Babic wrote last Monday.
The repeat presidential election failed last Sunday, when just 44 percent of the 6.5 million electorate showed up to vote - less than the 50 percent required for a valid poll. It happened just eight weeks after a...


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Tbilisi secures USD 35 mln in World Bank funding

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The World Bank has given Georgia two long-term credits worth a total of USD 35 million. According to Interfax, the first credit, USD 15.6 million, is to finance a project to develop the republic's forestry complex, and the second, USD 19.4 million, will finance a municipal development and decentralisation project. These projects were confirmed by the World Bank's Board of Directors last August. The credits were granted to Georgia for 40 years with a 10-year grace period at 0.75 percent per annum...


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Azerienergy clinches Tavanir construction credit

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Iranian national energy company Tavanir will grant Azerienergy a credit of USD one million to build the Astara (Azerbaijan) - Astara (Iran) power cable. Azerienergy President Etibar Piriverdiyev said that the credit would be provided without government guarantees, Interfax said in a report. "Iran, like us, is interested in the project, because in the summer months in Iran there is large demand for electricity, while we need electricity more in the winter," he was quoted as saying. Work to instal...


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Yerevan achieves nuclear plant safety level – Kocharian

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"Armenia is making major efforts to improve protection of the country's nuclear power plant in light of the increasing terrorist threat," President Robert Kocharian told a recent Security Council session, quoted by Interfax. "Work is in progress under the TACIS-2000 programme, which is aimed at improving the security of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant," Kocharian said. He regretted that the organisation had not appropriated any funds for the plant in 2003. "The Armenian foreign ministry and ene...


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Armenia tops CIS industrial output

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Considering all CIS countries, the Armenian processing industries expanded at the highest rate, 15.1 percent, in the January-October period of the year, compared to the respective 2001 period, the CIS Statistical Committee has reported. Moldova with 11.4 percent is the runner-up, followed by Kazakhstan, 9.8 percent; Tajikistan, 7.7 percent; Ukraine, 6.0 percent; Russia, 4.0 percent; Belarus, 3.9 percent; Azerbaijan, 3.0 percent; and Georgia, 2.8 percent. Kyrgyzstan's industrial output fell by 17...


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Georgia resolution urges no WTO entry for Russia

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The Georgian parliament recently passed a resolution calling on the government to oppose Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation. Georgia must resist Russia's entry into the WTO as long as Russia supports the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and North Ossetia, members of parliament said, cited by Interfax.
"What Russia is doing in those areas is tantamount to the economic subversion of Georgia," they stressed.
In another resolution, the Georgian parliament demanded that Russia's mi...


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ADB financing to support Baku reforms

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Asian Development Bank has confirmed a programme in Azerbaijan for 2003-2005 worth USD 160 million, a bank source in Baku told Interfax recently. The core projects will be aimed at reducing poverty and developing the non-oil sector of the economy, namely rural infrastructure.
Azerbaijan could receive loans worth USD 25 million from the ADB Fund, a unit of the bank, each year and loans from the bank for the same amount. The bank will provide annual grants in the three-year period of USD 3.35 mil...


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Yerevan decides on business revamp amid WB credit target

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The Armenian government has already approved several legislative initiatives aimed at improving Armenia's much-criticised business environment, in the hope of securing another USD 20 million loan from the World Bank early next year, RFE/RL said in a recent report.
The budgetary loan is the first tranche of the bank's new "structural adjustment credit" (SAC-5) which was originally due to be released this year. However, its disbursement was delayed over the slow pace of structural reforms in the ...


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Armenia parliament ratifies debt agreement with Russia

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With a narrow majority number, the parliament of the Armenian republic recently ratified an extensive agreement clearing the country's USD 95 million debt to Russia. In particular, the agreement was endorsed by 67 members of the 131-strong National Assembly. Out of the parliamentarian task only three deputies voted against, leaving the rest of the other lawmakers failing to take part in the voting, according to RFE/RL reports.
As expected, a dispute emerged over the impartiality of the voting ...


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IFC opens credit for Asaka bank

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has opened a USD five million credit line to Uzbekistan's Asaka bank for the financing of small- and mid-sized business projects, the regional IFC office was quoted as saying by Interfax. Head of the IFC Central Asia office Corton de Mond and Chairman of Asaka bank Shukhrat Tashmuradov signed the credit agreement on November 29. The credit line was opened for seven years with a two-year grace period at a...


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Kazkommerts Securities credit rating project

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"Kazakh investment company Kazkommerts Securities, a wholly-owned subsidiary of large Kazakh bank Kazkommertsbank, is starting to implement a project to assign credit ratings to Kazakh companies," Director General Eldar Abdrazakov said at a recent press conference in Almaty, according to Interfax. "The need has arisen in the republic for objective, qualified evaluations of companies' credit worthiness," he said. The volume of the Kazakh corporate bond market has increased from USD 100 million to...


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Emsas-Uzbektourism JV for Tashkent hotel reconstruction

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Turkish company Emsas Insaat Turizm Ticaret AS (Emsas) and the national company Uzbektourism have set up a joint venture to reconstruct the Chorsu Hotel at a cost of USD 22 million, a source in Uzbektourism was quoted as saying by Interfax. The joint venture has been set up with a charter capital of USD 10 million with 70 percent participation by the Turkish side and 30 percent on the part of the Uzbek side. The project will be financed from the venture's capital and using a credit from Turkey's...


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Kazakhmys increases copper output by 3.6%

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Kazakhmys Corp., Kazakhstan's biggest copper producer, turned out 395,400 tonnes of refined copper in the first 11 months of 2002, up 3.6 percent from 381,700 tonnes in the same period of last year. Kazakhmys also produced 613 tonnes of silver granules, up from 599 tonnes; 3,552 kg of gold bars, down from 5,143 kg; 64,700 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, up from 62,900 tonnes; 37.8 million tonnes of ore, up from 36.2 million tonnes; and 6.6 million tonnes of coal, up from 6.2 million tonnes, Kazak...


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Techint launches glass production line in Taskhent

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Italian company Techint will launch a USD 27.2 million automotive glass production line at Uzbekistan's Avtooyna plant in the first quarter of 2003, Avtooyna CEO Tulkinzhon Kurbanov recently announced, quoted by Prime-Tass. It is noted that Techint partly controls Avtooyna.
Kurbanov said Techint had completed the installation of equipment and would hold a trial run at the start of the year. According to estimates, Avtooyna's annual output will reach 65,300 automotive glass kits in 2003 and 82,...


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Cotton quota falls short of initial estimates

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Uzbekistan harvested 3.2 million tonnes of cotton this year, down 2.4 percent from last year, a source in the Ministry of Agriculture was quoted as saying by Interfax. The ministry stated that the cotton harvest had been completed and the average yield was 22.5 centners per hectare but was much lower in some regions. Uzbekistan planted cotton on 1.4 million hectares this year and planned to harvest 3.75 million tonnes. The harvest was smaller than expected because heavy spring rains forced farme...


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Moodys assigns FSR E+, Ba3/NP ratings to Nurbank

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Moody's Investors Service has assigned to Kazakh Nurbank an E+ Financial Strength Rating (FSR), and ratings of Ba3/NP for long- and short-term foreign currency deposits. All ratings carry stable outlooks.
Citing a Moody's press release, Nurbank is a well-capitalised bank with good asset quality and financial performance. It is also the eighth largest bank in Kazakhstan, with a significant market share. These strengths are reflected in the bank's long-term foreign currency deposit ratings, which...


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Astana boasts sound investment climate, EBRD maintains support

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Kazakhstan attracted USD 21 billion in foreign investment in the 11 years since its independence, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently stated to the press, cited by Interfax. Of this amount, 45 percent was channelled into natural resource development, Nazarbayev said at a press conference in Astana.
"Investments will help implement three programmes beginning in 2003," he said. According to Nazarbayev, the programmes are aimed at the diversification of the Kazakh economy as well as th...


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ADB deal on Dushanbe poverty reduction plan

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The government of Tajikistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently signed an agreement on partnership for reduction of poverty in the republic. Based on reports posted by Asia-Plus, the agreement was signed between Tajikistan, represented by Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov, and the Asian Development Bank, represented by the Director General of the ADB Department for East and Central Asia Girt van der Linden, and ADB expert Johanna Boestel. Speaking at the signing ceremony the sides noted that...


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Turkmenistan boosts agro sector with loan extensions

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A new programme for overcoming the current crisis in Turkmenistan's agricultural sector provides for extending loans to agricultural producers and restructuring their debts, Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov recently told the cabinet. Niyazov ordered the allocation of one trillion manat (USD 192.3 million) from the state budget to agriculture. This money will be transferred to the Extra-Budget Agricultural Fund. Niyazov also ordered entering the one trillion manat as a budgeted spending item....


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Foreign support for Aral Sea problem at hand

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Most of the 17 international organisations comprising donor-countries for the Aral Sea problem intend to support a programme of concrete measures on improving the ecological and socioeconomic situation in the Aral area. This statement was made at a recent meeting of Aral donor-countries in Dushanbe, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Aral Salvation Foundation Sirojiddin Aslov told Interfax. A decision on principal measures for improvement of the ecological and socioeconomic...


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Finland subsidising environment, health projects in Kyrgyzstan

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A signing ceremony for two agreements between the governments of Finland and Kyrgyzstan was recently held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Central Asian state. According to the documents, Finland is allocating three million Euro for the implementation of programmes in the field of environment and healthcare in Kyrgyzstan. Minister of Healthcare Mitalip Mamytov signed the agreement on lung health programme from the Kyrgyz side. Minister of Ecology and Extreme Situations Satybaldy Chyrmas...


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Rahmonov urges stronger trade ties with France

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"We highly appraise a level of cooperation with France, but I think time has come to give new impulse to our relations," Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov stated, thus setting the framework of his discussions during his recent visit to the French capital. "I hope may first official visit to France and to the West as a whole will allow strengthening our partnership, and commence large-scale cooperation," he noted. Rahmonov disclosed his plans "to offer to French business circles profitable economi...


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Niyazov extends blame for assassination attempt

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During a recent emergency government meeting, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov presented new allegations about his reported assassination plot and new ideas about how to secure peace and human rights in his country.
According to Niyazov's presidential spokesman, more than half of the 23 people detained in connection with the plot are foreigners. In addition, Niyazov, who initially named four members of the Turkmen opposition in exile as the assassination masterminds, has extended his alleg...


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Moscow secures military ties with Bishkek, trade relations unfold

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev held a meeting in a narrow format in the Government House in Bishkek during the former's recent visit to the Central Asian state. The Russian president said it was not by chance that Kyrgyzstan had been chosen as the third country for his visit during his Asian tour. He said Russia and Kyrgyzstan were "linked by very close relations on a bilateral basis and on an international scale."
The presidents exchanged opinions on a wide ...


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Investment in Sakhalin-1 may reach USD 1.25 bln

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Investment in the Sakhalin-1 project in 2003 should amount to USD 1.24 billion, Interfax quoted the head of the production sharing agreement department at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, Olga Rybak, as telling journalists. She said that the government body managing the project was expected to reach a final decision on the budget for the Sakhalin-1 project at a meeting on December 10. Rybak noted that the supervisory board for the Sakhalin-2 project would meet on about December 20, t...


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