Trading is one of the most important industries for a country’s economy and Slovakia makes no exception. Being a member of the European Union, Slovak companies can take advantage of the open borders and the simplified customs system imposed at the level of the Union.
Imports and exports play an important role in the welfare of the population, and many companies operating in Slovakia have large portfolios of imported and exported goods which bring them very good profits.
Slovakia’s trade statistics place the country on the 35th place when it comes to imports and the 39th position when it comes to exports out of 136 countries. The Slovak trading balance ranks 26th among all 136 states. The country’s trade balance improved significantly after 2002 when it started to follow an upward trend. The Slovak Statistical Office issued a report stating that the country’s overall trade balance at the end of 2015 was approximately 630 million euros in exports and nearly 600 million euros in imports.
If you are interested in opening a trading company in Slovakia, our local specialists can help you.
Who can import and export goods into/from Slovakia?
The Slovak trading industry is open to all sorts of companies and sole traders interested in selling locally produced goods and services outside the country, but also to those who want to sell imported products and services on the Slovak market.
An important aspect to be considered is that in order to legally import and export goods and services into, respectively out of Slovakia one will need to have a legal entity registered in the country. Then, specific requirements related to the packaging and labeling of goods must be respected. These requirements are imposed by the Customs Authorities in Slovakia and the EU.
Importing and exporting in/from Slovakia
Slovakia is currently the 45th largest exporterin the world and it also has the 14th most complex economy in the world, according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI).
When it comes to exports, Slovakia exports cars worth 14 billion USD and vehicle parts worth almost 4.5 billion USD. Refined petroleum is also one of the top products exported by Slovak companies. Slovakia’s most important export partners are Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Austria in Europe, Russia, China, and the United States in the rest of the world.
The most imported products in Slovakia are vehicle spare parts, crude petroleum, and petroleum gas. Vehicle parts account for 8.3% of the country’s total imports, while petroleum products account for approximately 9% cumulated. Slovakia’s main import partners are Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, and South Korea.
The most traded goods in Slovakia
Slovakia is one of EU’s emerging economies, and the trading sector is one of the most prolific ones.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, in terms of exports, cars and spare parts, alongside petroleum and petroleum products are the represent the most exported goods. When it comes to imports, cars and crude and gas petroleum are the products entering the country in the highest numbers, respectively quantities.
As expected, Slovakia’s main trading partners are EU countries, among which Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, France and Austria are the most important. Imports come mainly from Germany, Poland, Hungary and Vietnam.
If you want to open a company in Slovakia and need guidance, our local agents are at your service with complete solutions.
Import and export procedures in Slovakia
Slovakia is a member of several important international agreements which allow for simplifiedimport and export procedures and also for lower costs related to the operations. As an EU member state, Slovak companies benefit from free movement of goods within the boundaries of the Union. Also, considering the European Union has a unified foreign trade policy, licensing is required for certain products only. Import and export of goods in Slovakia are done through the TARIC system, which requires products to have a specific code which makes them easier to recognize.
Starting an import/export company in Slovakia
The registration of a company for the import and export of goods in Slovakia is relatively easy. The first regulations to be respected are those of the Company Law which requires for the business to use of the agreed types of structures available in this country.
The limited liability company is the most employed business form for import/export companies in Slovakia and in order to set up such a company, one will need:
- to prepare the documents needed to register the company with the Companies House;
- to file the documents with the Trade Register and obtain the company’s Certificate of Registration;
- to register for taxation, for VAT and with the Customs Authority in Slovakia;
- to apply for the necessary licenses related to the import and export of goods.
Our Slovak company formation specialists can help foreign investors from EU and non-EU countries if they want to start trading businesses in this country. We remind that the requirements for company incorporation no matter the industry are different for EU and non-EU investors.
VAT registration when importing/exporting in/from Slovakia
When starting a trading business in Slovakia, VAT registration is mandatory even when not reaching the required turnover threshold, as the company must obtain an EORI number used for customs operations.
VAT registration can be completed with the help of our company registration agents in Slovakia as part of the business incorporation procedure.
Following VAT registration, the EORI number will be assigned in a few days.
The same procedure applies to foreign companies with operations in Slovakia and which need to register for VAT here.
EORI registration for Slovak trading companies
EORI registration is mandatory when involved in cross-border trading activities, as Slovak companies and foreign ones need to register with the system in order to be able to engage in customs operations.
EORI registration needs to be completed once and the number obtained will be used every time a company brings or ships goods into, respectively outside the country. The procedure is the same for foreign companies with operations in Slovakia. However, these can also use EORI numbers obtained in other EU member states when importing or exporting goods into/from Slovakia.
Obtaining the EORI number is not complicated and is issued based on the VAT number previously obtained.
In the case of foreign trading companies operating through branches in Slovakia, the same EORI number obtained by the parent company can be used by the Slovak-based entity.
If you have questions about the procedures that need to be completed in order to import or export goods in/from Slovakia, our consultants are at your service.
Import/export licenses in Slovakia
One of the most important steps when opening a trading business in Slovakia is related to obtaining the necessary licenses in order to import and export goods. A company can apply for an import, an export or both types of licenses depending on the activities it will undertake.
Considering Slovakia is an EU member, it will be subject to the national legislation, but also to the regulations imposed by the European Council when it comes to obtaining such licenses. The EC regulations impose Slovak companies to apply for import licenses when importing goods and various commodities from non-EU countries.
The same regulations apply when exporting goods to a non-EU country: the Slovak company needs to apply for an export license which will have a limited validity period. It must be noted that by the time the license expires, the products need to be delivered.
Another important rule to respect is that for certain products categorized as special, additional licenses will be required. Among these products are agricultural goods, meat, jewelry, firearms and so on. EORI registration with the Slovak authorities is also necessary when trading in the EU.
Special import licenses in Slovakia
While most goods coming from the EU are not subject to special import or export documents, there are some categories of products (especially those coming from non-EU states) that require obtaining specific licenses every time they are brought into the country.
For certain categories of goods, such as fish and fresh meat, plants and other phytosanitary products, firearms and electronics specific documents must accompany them. Among these, we mention the following:
the health certificate is required for products such as raw meat, fish and dairy,
the ingredients certificate must be presented to the authorities when importing canned goods,
the inspection certificate can also be required for certain goods,
the phytosanitary or quarantine certificate is another document to be presented for specific categories of goods,
the dangerous goods certificate is also required when importing specific products from outside the EU.
Certain goods must be accompanied by dock and warehouse receipts, if they are brought by waterway and are stored before shipment to the place they will be sold. In the case of electronic products, these must be accompanied by product manuals.
With respect to the documents these the need to be brought into Slovakia with, some of them require:
- the purchase order,
- the commercial invoice,
- the packaging list/quantity,
- the certificate of origin,
- the certificate of inspection.
Business owner must note that these requirements apply based on the country of origin of the products.
Import/export documents in Slovakia
All products which enter or exit Slovakia must be accompanied by a set of documents which needs to contain:
- information about the company importing/exporting them, among which the name and address are necessary;
- the goods must also be accompanied by the specific import/export license;
- the quantity of the products must be specified in the import/export declaration;
- the country of origin of the products must also be written in the declaration;
- the place, date and the signature of the company representative must also be stated in the Customs declaration.
In order to import goods into Slovakia, companies must also obtain an EORI number. This can be obtained by both EU and non-EU companies and will reduce significantly the formalities when importing and exporting goods into/from Slovakia. The EORI number is assigned based on the VAT number of the company and will permit Slovak companies to import and export goods into the EU.
We also invite you to watch our video below:
Slovakia’s foreign trade balance in recent years
In 2018, Slovakia’s trade balance represented 2% of its Gross Domestic Product with the value of exports growing by 12% (94,2 billion USD) , while that imports increasing by 13% (94 billion USD) . Other information offered by the World Trade Organization, indicates that:
- in 2019, Slovakia imported goods worth 90,092 million USD,
- the same year, it exported goods with a value of 89,623 million USD,
- in terms of import of services, their total value in 2019 was 10,821 million USD,
- in terms of exports, these amounted to 11,968 million USD.
For complete information about import and export proceedings in Slovakia, do not hesitate to contact our local agents. With a vast knowledge and experience in company registration matters, our specialists in Slovakia can help foreign investors who want to set up trading businesses in this country.
Call us now at (+44) 203-287 0408to set up an appointment with our consultants, who are handling company formation in Slovakia. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Slovakia.
As our client, you will benefit from the joint expertize of local accountants and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in Slovakia.