STA, 12 October 2020 - The recently established Slovenian-Chinese business council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expressed concern in a public letter on Monday over the government's alleged plans concerning Chinese company Huawei.
According to unofficial information, the government could label Huawei a high-risk supplier in the coming weeks. A document obtained by the media shows that the initiative for this had come from the Public Administration Ministry and that the matter was still being discussed.
In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Janez Janša and the cabinet, the council, chaired by Žiga Vavpotič from the companies Outfit7 and Globaldreamvision, says that an open, stable, predictable business environment providing equal opportunities is crucial for good functioning of the economy, even more so in the period of post-pandemic recovery.
The leadership of the council also expressed concern that such a government decree would be an important precedence.
Suggesting that such a label would damage any company's reputation and "represent illegal discrimination of a company based on subjective criteria that cannot be measured", the council warned that such a government move would strongly undermine foreign investors' trust in the Slovenian business system.
Companies, both Slovenian and foreign, need a predictable business environment, so such sudden and unpredictable government decisions are extremely harmful, the council said.
It also pointed to the risk of damage for Slovenian companies if China decided to retaliate, and the damage that could be caused to the bilateral relations with China, which both countries have been building in recent years.
China has some strategically important investments in Slovenia, the council said, pointing to the household appliance maker Gorenje, owned by Hisense, while Slovenian companies have important investments in China.
The council stressed that the efforts for improving bilateral relations should continue, and that ways should be found for cooperation also "when we may not see eye to eye (politically)".
It called on the government to make a decision based on equal treatment of all business entities operating in Slovenia and taking into consideration Slovenia's economic interests in China.
Apart from Vavpotič, the list of signatories includes the council's deputy chairs Franjo Bobinac, the former Gorenje CEO, and Jure Tomc, whose company in Hong Kong offers assistance to companies entering SE Asian markets, Gašper Cotman from Huawei Technologies, founder and CEO of company Cosylab Mark Pleško, Saša Saje Wang from KF Finance and Daniela Voljč from the Ljubljana School of Economics and Business.