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Central/East Europe: Daimler-Benz Chief Assesses Economies

Salzburg, 10 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - A leading German businessman at an economic summit in Salzburg says there have been both positive and negative economic developments in eastern and central Europe during the past year.

Klaus Mangold, President and Chief Executive Officer of Daimler-Benz, told RFE/RL he views the overall economic situation in eastern and central Europe as positive. He noted that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth across central and eastern Europe is expected to be the second highest in the world for the period of 1996 to 2000.

Mangold, who chaired yesterday's opening plenary session of the Salzburg summit, said positive developments in the past year included GDP growth of six percent in Poland and the success of Hungary in attracting direct foreign investment.

He said negative developments were the decline of the value of the Czech crown on foreign exchange markets, Bulgaria's hyperinflation and near total economic collapse last January, and the decline of GDP in Russia during 1996.