Slovenia

Slovenia

Slovenia: Market Profile

Picture: Slovenia factsheet
Picture: Slovenia factsheet

1. Overview

Slovenia’s favourable geographical location has enabled it to become a strong regional and international player with an export-oriented manufacturing sector. But the global economic crisis of 2008 hit hard and structural reforms are needed - through greater privatisation, improved openness to foreign investment, investor-friendly changes to taxes and labour flexibility to support greater economic competitiveness - to lift Slovenia’s long-term growth potential and prevent the resurfacing of imbalances that emerged pre-2007. Efforts to address the threat of a rapidly ageing population are also necessary to ensure public finances remain on a sustainable trajectory. In 2017 Slovenia recorded a trade surplus of EUR1.1 billion with non-European Union (EU) members. Economic expansion in 2017 was the best for a decade, but it is believed that the government still controls more than 40% of the economy and the banking sector.

Source: World Bank, Fitch Solutions, The Slovenia Times, Hong Kong Information Services Department

2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

April 2017
Gregory So, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, visited Ljubljana to co-host an event with The Slovenia Times to discuss the opportunities that will accompany the Belt and Road Initiative, emphasising the importance of connectivity and the joint economic and investment opportunities that will arise.

April 2017
Slovenia and Hong Kong signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will facilitate cooperation in wine-related businesses. The agreement may serve as a model for other Slovakian businesses to make use of the advantages offered by Hong Kong as a means to reach the East Asia markets.

June 2017
An international court of arbitration decided in favour of Slovenia in its maritime dispute with Croatia, ruling that it should have direct access to international waters in the Adriatic Sea using a corridor that crosses Croatian waters.

March 2018
Prime Minister Miro Cerar resigned after the Supreme Court struck down a major railway project.

June 2018
Although the SDS party of veteran former Prime Minister Janez Jansa made significant gains in elections, he could not put together a ruling majority coalition. The relatively new LMS party under Marjan Serec formed a centre-left minority government and it governs with the support of the leftist Levica party.

Source: BBC Country Profile – Timeline, Fitch Solutions, Hong Kong Information Services Department

3. Major Economic Indicators

Graph: Slovenia real GDP and inflation
Graph: Slovenia real GDP and inflation
Graph: Slovenia GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Slovenia GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Slovenia unemployment rate
Graph: Slovenia unemployment rate
Graph: Slovenia current account balance
Graph: Slovenia current account balance

e = estimate, f = forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

4. External Trade

4.1 Merchandise Trade

Graph: Slovenia merchandise trade
Graph: Slovenia merchandise trade

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

Graph: Slovenia major export commodities (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major export commodities (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major export markets (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major export markets (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major import commodities (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major import commodities (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major import markets (2017)
Graph: Slovenia major import markets (2017)

Source: Trade Map, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

4.2 Trade in Services

Graph: Slovenia trade in services
Graph: Slovenia trade in services

e = estimate
Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

5. Trade Policies

  • Slovenia has been a member of WTO since 30 July 1995 and a member of GATT since October 30, 1994. Slovenia became a member state of the EU on May 1, 2004.
  • Tariff rates in Slovenia are low, at an average of 1.5%, ensuring lower costs for exporters and importers - particularly if a trade is taking place within the EU’s customs union.
  • Average import tariffs for goods from outside of the EU are highest for agricultural products and processed food; the highest applied tariff for non-agricultural goods is for clothing, at 11.5%, with duties falling as low as 2.4% for electrical machinery and 2.0% for petroleum. These low tariffs facilitate trade for Slovenia even with countries outside the EU.
  • As an EU member state, Slovenia applies the Integrated Tariff of the Community, which is designed to show various rules applying to specific products imports and exports into and from the EU.

Source: WTO – Trade Policy Review, Fitch Solutions, Global Trade Alert

6. Trade Agreement

6.1 Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. EU: As an EU member state since May 2004 Slovenia applies the Common Customs Tariff of the European Union, which ensures the tariff-free movement of goods within the territory of the member states, whether those goods are made within the union or imported, and implements standardised rates of customs duties on goods imported from outside the union. Slovenia’s main trade partners are in the EU, which means the absence of customs charges enhances trade volumes.

  2. European Economic Area: This came into force in January 1994 and brings together the EU-member countries and three of the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but not Switzerland - into a single market. The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen trade and economic relations between the countries by removing trade barriers and imposing equal conditions of competition and compliance with the same rules.

  3. EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement: Effective from February 2010 for goods and September 2013 for services, Slovenia ratified this agreement in December 2010. Trade between Slovenia and Serbia reached a value of EUR1.24 billion in 2016, up 3.9% compared to 2015. Serbia is Slovenia’s seventh-highest exporting partner, so this free trade agreement has helped to boost the flow of trade between the two countries.

  4. EU-South Korea: This agreement has been in effect since July 2011, removing most import duties except for a limited number of agricultural products. South Korea is Slovenia’s seventh-largest importing partner, whose exports to Slovenia amounted to USD1.3 billion in 2017, consisting mainly of vehicles, iron and steel, plastics and machinery.

Source: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, Fitch Solutions

7. Investment Policy

7.1 Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Slovenia FDI stock
Graph: Slovenia FDI stock
Graph: Slovenia FDI flow
Graph: Slovenia FDI flow

Source: UNCTAD
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. The Slovenian Public Agency for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism (SPIRIT) promotes FDI and advocates for foreign investors in Slovenia. Its mission is to enhance Slovenia’s economic competitiveness through technical and financial assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors.

  2. Slovenia’s Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Internationalisation of Enterprises Act covers the main goals and measures for the promotion of FDI. These include free of charge consultation services for foreign investors, promoting Slovenia as an investment destination, improving Slovenia’s competitiveness and financial incentives.

  3. In 2010 Slovenia signed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) convention and became a member of the OECD. Slovenia is also one of only three emerging European countries that have been able to adopt the euro, which it joined in 2007, enabling its exporters and capital markets to benefit from reduced transaction costs.

  4. Foreign companies that conduct business in Slovenia have the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as domestic companies. The Law on Commercial Companies and the Law on Foreign Transactions guarantees companies’ basic rights and helps to ensure that foreign companies are accorded equality under the law.

  5. Both foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish and own business enterprises and engage in different forms of remunerative activity. Slovenia has relatively few limits on foreign ownership or control. There are limits on banking and investment services, private pensions, insurance services, asset management services, and settlement, clearing, custodial, and depository services provided in Slovenia, but headquartered in non-EU countries. In the gaming sector, there is a 20% cap on foreign ownership. In the air transport industry, registration of an aircraft is only possible for aircraft owned by Slovenian or EU nationals or companies controlled by them. Companies controlled by Slovenian nationals or carriers complying with EU regulations on ownership and control are the only entities eligible for Air Operator’s Certificates (AOC) for performing airline services. In the maritime transport industry, the law forbids majority ownership by non-EU residents of a Slovenian flag maritime vessel unless the operator is a Slovenian or other EU national.

  6. In order to establish a business in Slovenia, a foreign investor must produce capital of at least EUR7,500 for a limited liability company and EUR25,000 for a stock company.

  7. Slovenian Sovereign Holding manages a privatisation portfolio of companies acquired as a result of state bail-outs during the financial crisis, including assets held by the Bank Assets Management Company.

  8. Slovenia has signed 35 bilateral investment treaties, around a quarter of which are with non-EU countries. Treaties with the Russian Federation, Belarus and India, were signed in 2000, 2006 and 2011, but have not yet entered into force.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, The International Trade Administration (ITA), US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions

7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive ProgrammeMain Incentives Available
Free Economic Zones (FEZs): Koper and Maribor- FEZs may be established by one or more domestic legal persons. The founders must provide the resources necessary for the establishment and commencement of operation, as well as suitable technical, organisational, ecological and other conditions for the performance of business activities.

- The following activities may be performed within free economic zones: production and services; wholesale trade; banking and other financial services; and insurance and reinsurance regarding the above-mentioned activities.

- After obtaining an appropriate tax authority decision, users of FEZs are entitled to the following benefits: (i) VAT exemption for imports of equipment, production materials and services necessary for export production or performance of other permitted activities; (ii) a reduction in corporate tax rates from the normal 21% to 10%; (iii) a tax allowance amounting to 50% of invested resources on investments in tangible assets in the FEZ; and (iv) a reduction in the taxable base amounting to 50% of the salaries of apprentices and other workers formerly unemployed for at least 6 months.
Free Customs Zone (FCZ): Port of Koper- Under the Customs Act, subjects operating in FCZs are not liable for the payment of customs duties, nor are they subject to other trade policy measures until goods are released into free circulation.

- Duties and rights of users include the following: (i) Separate books must be kept for activities undertaken in FCZs; (ii) users may undertake business activities in a FCZ on the basis of contracts with the founders of FCZs; (iii) users are free to import goods (customs goods, domestic goods for export) into FCZs; (iv) goods imported into FCZs may remain for an indefinite period, except agricultural produce, for which a time limit is set by the government; (v) entry to and exit from FCZs is to be controlled; (vi) founders and users must allow customs or other responsible authorities to execute customs or other supervision; and (vii) for the purposes of customs control, users must keep records of all goods imported into, exported from, or consumed or altered in FCZs.

- The Customs Act also allows the establishment of open FCZs that will allow for more flexible organisation and customs authorities’ supervision. In such FCZs, users may undertake the following activities: (i) production and service activities, including handicrafts, defined in the founding act or contract, and banking and other financial business transactions, property and personal insurance and reinsurance connected with the activities undertaken; (ii) wholesale transactions; and (iii) retail sales, but only for other users of the zone or for use within the FCZ.

Source: US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions

8. Taxation – 2018

  • Value Added Tax: 22%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 19%

Source: PwC, Fitch Solutions

8.1 Important Updates to Taxation Information

Based on the Amendments of the Slovene Personal Income Tax (PIT) Act, a new tax bracket has been introduced for year 2017 and onwards, between the previous second and third brackets, with a tax rate of 34%. In addition, the tax rate in the fourth tax bracket has been reduced from 41% to 39%.

8.2 Business Taxes

Type of TaxTax Rate and Base
Resident company: Corporate Tax RatesThe standard corporate income tax rate is 19%. Investment funds may be taxed at a rate of 0% if certain conditions are met.
Resident company: Capital Gains TaxCapital gains are treated as ordinary income and the full amount of the realised gain is subject to tax at 19%.
DividendsDividends paid to residents and non-residents are subject to withholding tax at a rate of 15%. The tax does not apply to dividends paid to a resident or to a permanent establishment of a non-resident if the dividend recipient informs the dividend payer of its tax number.
Social security contributions (paid by both employers and employees)Employers contribute 16.10% and employees 22.10%. Health insurance is 6.56% (employee 6.36%); pension and disability 8.85% (15.5%); unemployment insurance 0.06% (0.14%); maternity benefits 0.1% (0.1%); and workers' compensation insurance (for occupational injuries and diseases) 0.53% (0%).
VAT
Standard rate of 22%. A lower rate of 9.5% generally applies to foodstuffs, medicines, public hygiene services and a range of other things,including water supplies, transport of passengers and renovation of residential properties.
Real Estate Transfer Tax; levied on the acquisition of real estate2% of the purchase price of real estate
Financial Services Tax8.5% applied to the fee for any services provided by banks and financial institutions
Payments to foreign affiliatesSuch payments are normally subject to witholding tax if there is no right to apply exemptions in accordance with Slovenian legislation or DTT. Payments similar to dividends, including disguised distribution of profit, are not tax deductible. Any other payments to foreign affiliates are tax deductible if they are made in accordance with the arm’s-length principle.
Tax relief for investments in PomurjeEntities based in the Pomurje region of Slovenia may claim additional employment incentives and additional tax relief for investments. These extra benefits are available to 2019. Provided certain conditions are met, such entities are entitled to a 70% tax allowance for investments in equipment and intangible assets as well as to certain employment allowances.
Withholding Taxes (tax must be calculated and withheld on the payments made by residents and non-residents on Slovenian-sourced income to recipients outside Slovenia)The rate is 15% each on dividend income, royalties and interest, which may be reduced if a double taxation agreement exists.

Source: PwC, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

9. Foreign Worker Requirements

9.1 Localisation Requirements

Although EEA and Swiss citizens do not require visas to work in Slovenia, they must apply for a residence registration certificate for stays longer than three months. Residents are eligible to apply for permanent residency after a period of five years of uninterrupted residence. When employing citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland, an employer is only obliged to register the employment details to the Employment Service of Slovenia within eight days of starting a job. The EU Bluecard Regime also makes it easier for highly skilled workers outside of the EEA to enter Slovenia.

9.2 Foreign Worker Permits

Third country nationals in Slovenia are eligible to attend a free programme for the initial integration of immigrants that includes learning about Slovenian society and lessons in the language. The length of the course varies acccording to the type of residence permit.

9.3 Visa/Travel Restrictions

Non-EU nationals staying longer than three months must apply for a residence permit. EU nationals staying beyond three months must obtain a residence registration certificate in the area where they live.

Source: Government websites, Fitch Solutions

10. Risks

10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings


Rating (Outlook)Rating Date
Moody's
Baa1 (Stable)08/09/2017
Standard & Poor'sA+ (Positive)16/06/2017
Fitch Ratings
A- (Stable)10/08/2018

Source: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators


World Ranking
201620172018
Ease of Doing Business Index
30/18930/19037/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index
35/18924/19058/190
Logistics Performance Index
50/160N/A35/160
Corruption Perception Index
31/17634/180N/A
IMD World Competitiveness43/6143/6337/63

Source: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International, PwC

10.3 Fitch Solutions Risk Indices


World Ranking
201620172018
Economic Risk Index Rank23/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score69.676.580.2
Long-Term Economic Risk Score67.870.173.6
Political Risk Index Rank20/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score69.676.569.8
Long-Term Political Risk Score82.884.784.7
Operational Risk Index Rank33/201
Operational Risk Score65.266.967.2

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

10.4 Fitch Solutions Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK
Slovenia’s long-term growth performance will remain subject to difficult reforms to address the challenges posed by an ageing population, skilled labour shortages and capacity constraints.

OPERATIONAL RISK
Slovenia presents the most attractive business environment in the Southeast Europe region. Positive attributes include the lack of terrorist, interstate conflict or criminal threats for businesses and supply chains, as well as the country’s relatively well-developed and well-integrated transport network and utilities sectors. Downsides to these positive attributes include Slovenia’s small and costly workforce, which renders the country’s labour market quite uncompetitive with other manufacturing-oriented states in the wider emerging Europe region, as well as its high corporate tax rates.

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 23, 2018

Graph: Slovenia short term political risk index
Graph: Slovenia short term political risk index
Graph: Slovenia long term political risk index
Graph: Slovenia long term political risk index
Graph: Slovenia short term economic risk index
Graph: Slovenia short term economic risk index
Graph: Slovenia long term economic risk index
Graph: Slovenia long term economic risk index

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Economic and Political Risk Indices
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

10.5 Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index


Operational RiskLabour Market RiskTrade and Investment RiskLogistics RiskCrime and Security Risk
Slovenia Score67.254.0
60.9
70.6
83.4
Southeast Europe Average57.1
52.857.958.359.4
Southeast Europe Position (out of 12)1
6
5
1
1
Emerging Europe Average56.754.158.457.456.8
Emerging Europe Position (out of 31)5
19
13
3
2
Global Average49.7
49.850.049.349.9
Global Position (out of 201)33
71
56
30
17

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Slovenia vs global and regional averages
Graph: Slovenia vs global and regional averages
Country
Operational Risk Index
Labour Market Risk Index
Trade and Investment Risk IndexLogistics Risk IndexCrime and Secruity Risk Index
Slovenia
67.254.0
60.970.683.4
Croatia63.151.9
55.468.476.7
Romania62.157.162.160.768.5
Cyprus61.055.161.758.368.8
Bulgaria
60.255.563.660.661.1
Macedonia57.547.268.357.257.3
Montenegro
56.952.858.856.559.3
Serbia56.158.559.453.952.5
Turkey
52.952.055.861.942.0
Kosovo52.355.257.655.640.7
Albania50.849.047.649.856.8
Bosnia and Herzegovina45.545.544.346.145.9
Regional Averages57.152.857.958.359.4
Emerging Markets Averages46.848.047.545.846.0
Global Markets Averages49.749.850.049.349.9

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index
Date last reviewed: September 17, 2018

11. Hong Kong Connection

11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Slovenia

Graph: Major export commodities to Slovenia (2017)
Graph: Major export commodities to Slovenia (2017)
Graph: Major import commodities from Slovenia (2017)
Graph: Major import commodities from Slovenia (2017)
Graph: Merchandise exports to Slovenia
Graph: Merchandise exports to Slovenia
Graph: Merchandise imports from Slovenia
Graph: Merchandise imports from Slovenia

Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average
7.76 (2013)
7.75 (2014)
7.75 (2015)
7.76 (2016)
7.79 (2017)
Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018


2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of Slovenian residents visiting Hong Kong2,874
9.6

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board


2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of European residents visiting Hong Kong1,929,824
-0.2

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018

11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong


2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of EU companies in Hong Kong2,053N/A
- Regional headquarters4592.5
- Regional offices685-2
- Local offices9094.1

Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions

11.3 Treaties and Agreements between Hong Kong and Slovenia

  • Double Taxation Agreement with People's Republic of China (Effective date: December 1995).
  • Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia concerning the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investments (Entered into force in January 1995).

Source: Hong Kong Department of Justice

11.4 Chamber of Commerce (or Related Organisations) in Hong Kong

Honorary Consulate General of Slovenia in Hong Kong
Address: 9/F, Fu Hing Building, 10 Jubilee Street, Central, Hong Kong
Email: phlandpt@biznetvigator.com
Tel: (852) 2545 2107

Source: Hong Kong Economic and Trade office, Berlin

11.5 Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

Visa on arrival valid for 90 days in any 180-day period.

Source: Hong Kong Immigration Department
Date last reviewed: September 21, 2018


SAT Communication Project in Middle EU

Central & Eastern Europe
Location: Slovenia
Sectors: ICT Infrastructure
Looking for: Joint Venture, Minority Shareholdings, Open for Negotiation

SAT Communication Project in Middle EU

Central & Eastern Europe
Location: Slovenia
Sectors: ICT Infrastructure
Looking for: Joint Venture, Minority Shareholdings, Open for Negotiation