BRATISLAVA - Slovakia should receive hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign direct investment from U.S. companies over the next few years, the U.S. ambassador to the country said on Tuesday.
Slovakia, which spent most of last decade in isolation due to autocratic leaders,recently has become a popular investment destination for western firms after its present leaders enacted wide-scale political and economic reforms and secured a place among the 10 countries now in line to join the EU next year.
Several large American companies have expressed interest in setting up operations in Slovakia, U.S. Ambassador Ronald Weiser told a joint news conference with Slovak President Rudolf Schuster after they returned from a trip to the United States.
"It will start in tens of millions of dollars, and it will grow to hundreds of millions of dollars," Weiser told reporters.
Weiser said Visteon Corp plans to build a plant in Slovakia within the next two years.
Visteon is the largest supplier of parts to PSA Peugeot Citroen, which is building a 700 million euro assembly factory in the western Slovak town of Trnava.
"Nothing is definite until the contracts are signed, but the probability is very high," he said.
He would not disclose estimates of volumes of investments, nor did he elaborate further on the timetable for the plans.
An increasing number of foreign firms are opening or expanding Slovak operations to take advantage of the ex-Soviet satellite's convenient location in central Europe and its cheap, skilled labor. The average Slovak monthly wage is about $350.