Groundbreaking ceremony for Cooper-Standard plant

Ground was broken on Wednesday for a new a Cooper-Standard plant, a USD 35 million investment which will bring 500 jobs to Sremska Mitrovica.

Source: Tanjug

The factory will produce automotive sealing systems.

The ceremony was attended by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, who said the government's primary task in the coming period is to bring in as many foreign investors as possible.

"It it not at all important who is in the government and who in the opposition and whether we have a semblance of stability in the ruling coalition, the important thing is whether Serbia has a future and whether there is something more we can do to attract investors and start living like normal people," Dačić said in Sremska Mitrovica, where he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Cooper-Standard Automotive plant.

"Under the present conditions, it is impossible to maintain the system with such a low rate of employment, which is why all our capacities should be engaged in the economy, finance and foreign investments," said Dačić.

Robert Kuenning, vice president of operations for Europe at Cooper-Standard Automotive, said it took two years for the project to reach this point, which is the result of the hard work and help of many people.

Once the plant is completed, it will have a 18,000-square-meter production floor and will employ 500 people, said Kuenning, adding that the company will invest USD 35 million in production equipment.

He said the investment reaffirms the company's long term commitment to Serbia, adding he is looking forward to the day when the facility will officially open and start production and delivery of parts, which is planned for the first quarter of 2014.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby expressed satisfaction that American companies are investing in Serbia and that the government is welcoming them.

He noted that another American investor already employs 1,000 people in Sremska Mitrovica, and that 1,500 jobs are a big deal for the town.

Kirby said the companies were most impressed with the workers, who are well-trained and want to work and learn, which is great for the economy.

He noted that Prime Minister Dačić, who has been quite busy in recent days, took the time to come to the ceremony, which confirms the government's commitment to the economy.

Serbia does not have the kind of economy it would like, but the arrival of Cooper-Standard is a good step for the future, said Kirby, adding that Serbia has friends in the United States, who will help both the companies that want to invest here and the country on its European path.

Mayor of Sremska Mitrovica Branislav Nedimović said the company was issued building permits in just 12 days "which proves that if you really want to achieve something in your town, you can do it if you have good people working with you."

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