Final Word from Friday, October 17, 2003

So far, the CR's main competitors for big investments have been Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. As wages in the region rise, some investors will start looking farther East. Ukraine could be the next big player. It signed an economic-union treaty last month with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and a recent agreement between Kiev and Brussels will sharply lower mutual trade tariffs when Ukraine joins the World Trade Organization. Škoda Auto is planning to dramatically boost car assembly in Ukraine, and Ekonom magazine said there's speculation that LG Philips Displays will close its plant in Hranice, Moravia. The company yesterday denied having any such plans, but an unofficial source told us the decision has already been made to move the Hranice output to Ukraine. Some other early investors into the CR are also rumored to be packing their bags. EU European Union foreign direct FDI


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