During his talks with visiting Slovakia's State Secretary of Economic Cooperation Eva Simkova at the National Palace, Girma said the efforts of the Slovak company Matador-Addis Tire to raiseits products should be backed by an investment on rubber tree plantation, which is the raw material for making tire.
Matador-Addis Tire has already been running an 80 million U.S. dollars joint venture in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
Girma told the Slovakian state secretary that there is a vast land in southwestern Ethiopia which is highly suitable for rubber tree plantation.
The Ethiopian president said there are ample opportunities of cooperation between Ethiopia and Slovakia, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.
He urged Slovakia to play a leading role to promote the cause of Africa in the United Nations as it is currently an alternate member of the Security Council, which would deliberate on various issues pertaining to Africa.
Simkova told journalists after their talks that she would meet Ethiopian senior government officials, including Trade and Industry Minister Girma Birru and Finance and Economic DevelopmentMinister Sufian Ahmed during her official visit to Ethiopia.
She said her discussions with the Ethiopian ministers will focus on promoting investment cooperation and avoiding double taxation between Ethiopia and Slovakia, among others.
After the discussions, the two governments are expected to signan agreement providing for investment protection and guarantee in a bid to boost investment cooperation between the two countries, said the Slovak official.
The government of Slovakia is due to open its embassy in Addis Ababa soon, she said.
In June last year, Ethiopian Trade and Industry Minister Girma Birru visited Slovakia, where he met senior officials of the country and discussed on issues of boosting investment relations between the two countries.
The Crying Tree
The Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) can be 20m tall. Tapping is normally started seven years after planting. On average, one tree produces 250 kg rubber during its lifetime. Tapping means that a cut is made in the trunk to a very accurate depth. The latex that subsequently drips out is collected in a cup. A rubber tree can be tapped about 170 times a year.
DID YOU KNOW?
When a rubber tire, bearing the weight of a vehicle, rolls across an asphalt or cement surface, tiny fragments of rubber break off from the tire and become airborne. In the 1970s and early 1980s, scientists working for the rubber tire industry and for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that these tire fragments were too large to enter the human lung and so presented no threat to human health.
However, new research published this year by allergy specialists has reached a different conclusion: these new studies show that about 60% of tire fragments (tire dust) are so small that they can enter the deep portions of the human lung where the latex rubber in the tire dust may cause allergic reactions ranging in severity from rhinitis (runny nose), conjunctivitis (tearful eyes), to hives (urticaria), bronchial asthma, and occasionally even a life-threatening condition called anaphylactic shock.  Asthma, and asthma deaths, have increased dramatically during the past 20 years, especially among children, and specialists have been searching in vain for causes.
Source: Environmental Research Foundation, 1995