Exporting guide to Slovakia

Overview

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.

An improving business environment

The Slovak Prime Minister has 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.

Market square in Bratislava

Slovakia: at a glance

Economic growth

-4.4%

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is -9.3% (IMF, 2020, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$19,254

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected figure)

Currency

Euro

Business languages

Slovak, English

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT +2

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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.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

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.

Services regulations

Information on rules for selling services and business travel to Slovakia is available on gov.uk.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Slovakia.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Slovakia

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

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.