Exporting to Slovakia

Slovakia combines a stable economic and political environment with a strategic geographical location. English is widely spoken as a business language, and several large UK companies operate in Slovakia.

Increasing UK exports

In the four quarters to the end of Q4 2019, total UK exports to Slovakia amounted to £1.5bn (an increase of 60.9% or £566 million compared to the four quarters to the end of Q4 2018.

An improving business environment

The Slovak Prime Minister recently outlined a package of measures to improve the predictability and stability of the business environment. Plans to tackle labour shortages include supporting labour mobility and attracting Slovaks living abroad to move back home. The government also aims to attract research and development investment to Slovakia by offering incentives to overseas companies.

Strong UK links

Slovakia wants to maintain close trade relations with the UK. English is widely accepted as a business language and over 100 UK owned companies operate in Slovakia. Tesco is Slovakia’s top retailer and one of the main employers in the country. Other major UK investors include JLR, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell, CP Holdings, Wood Group, Arlington, Tate and Lyle, BAE Systems, and Allen and Overy.

Ease of doing business

45th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Euro

Business languages

Slovak, English

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$19,582

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

2.3%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +2

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Slovakia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Slovakia

Preparing to export

Taxation

A double taxation agreement, originally signed between the UK and Czechoslovakia, continues to apply to Slovakia. This means the same income is not taxed twice.

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Slovakia, provided certain conditions are met.

The standard rate of VAT in Slovakia is 20%. A reduced rate, currently set at 10%, applies to certain food products, pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and books.

Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate is 21%.

Standards and labelling

Products and packaging should meet EU standards.

Slovakia’s Standards, Metrology and Testing Authority has responsibility for standards and technical regulations.

All labels and packaging must be in Slovak.

Operating in Slovakia

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property (IP) lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

The Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic is responsible for IP protection in Slovakia.

Business culture

European business practices and standards generally apply in Slovakia. English is accepted as a business language.

Challenges

You may experience some issues with bribery and corruption in Slovakia, and you should make sure you’re complying with the requirements of the UK Bribery Act. Bureaucracy may also present challenges.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.