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Slovakia: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Slovakia

Businesspeople tend to wear suits and smart dress. English and German are the business languages, though any knowledge of Slovak is appreciated. Long business lunches are usual and presents are also appreciated. In recent years new media industries have been bringing in a greater degree of informality, especially in Bratislava.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1700 (or longer).

Economy

After the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the newly independent Slovak government found its heavy industries to be something of a millstone, but they continue to play a central role in the economy. The agricultural sector (almost all of which is now privately owned) produces wheat and grains, sugar beet, vegetables and livestock. However, its relative economic contribution is not substantial. The bulk of the industrial economy has been transferred to the private sector, including the key areas of machinery and chemical industries, textiles, leather, shoes, glass, electronics, nuclear energy and car manufacturing.

After the initial transition shock, the economy performed fairly well in the mid- and late-1990s, but then went into recession. The situation was brought under control from 2002, after which the economy experienced considerable growth. Unemployment was currently at 12.1% in 2015. Slovakia adopted the euro at the start of 2009. Despite the global downturn, international body The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development expects the country's fiscal growth to continue to be positive.

GDP

US$89.6 billion (2016).

Main exports

Vehicles, machinery and transport equipment, base materials, plastics, chemicals and minerals.

Main imports

Machinery and equipment, chemicals and fuels.

Main trading partners

Germany, Czech Republic, Russian Federation, Poland and Australia.

Keeping in Touch in Slovakia

Telephone

Public telephone booths are widely available, including special kiosks for international calls. Surcharges can be quite high on long-distance calls from hotels. Dial 112 for all emergency services.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good, extending over the whole country, with the exception of remote areas.

Internet

There are internet cafés in main towns.

Media

The constitution guarantees freedom of expression. All major daily newspapers are private and there are over 20 private radio stations. The introduction of commercial TV in the 1990s caused public broadcaster Slovak TV to lose a significant amount of viewers, with private TV broadcaster Markiza now claiming much of the audience. Cable and satellite TV are widely watched. Channels from neighbouring countries, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, have a sizeable audience.

The Slovak Spectator, Slovakia's English-language newspaper, is published weekly. Slovak Foreign Trade is published monthly by the Slovak Chamber of Commerce. The principal dailies are Novy Cas, Pravda and Sme. Popular weekly Slovak magazines include Plus 7 dni, Slovenka and Zivot. Slovak Radio is a public broadcaster, operating five national networks and an external service; Radio Expres, Radio Okey and Radio Twist are all commercial stations, as is commercial news agency Fun Radio.

Post

Most towns and villages have their own post office and some are open on Saturdays. The postal service, operated by Slovenská pošta (www.posta.sk) is efficient, but tends to be slow. Priority service delivery to the UK takes approximately two to four days and economy post can take up to nine days. Priority delivery to the USA takes five to eight days.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1800.

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