Slovenia is a member of the EU since 1st May, 2004 and as such is a member of the EU Customs Union.
Non Tariff Barriers
In accordance with its European Union membership, Slovenia applies the European Union trade policy, such as antidumping and anti-subsidy measures. The EU import regime is also applied to Slovenia.
While the EU has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, some products need import licenses. Restrictions especially apply to farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): the application of compensations on the import and export of farm products, aimed at favouring the development of agriculture within the EU, which implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for goods entering EU territory. To check if a product is subject to import restrictions, consult the TARIC database.
When being introduced into Slovenia, some products must be "CE" marked in respect to European directives adopted on the basis of the New Approach and the Global Approach.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Slovenia is a member of the EU and fully accepts its foreign trade policy. Operations carried out within the EEA are free of duty. The Common Customs Tariff of the European Union applies to goods originating outside Europe. Generally the duty is relatively low, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average). Tariffs for EU origin products can be found on the TARIC Consultation Website.
When the country of origin of the goods exported to Slovenia is not part of the European Union, customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods, in accordance with the Common Customs Tariff (CCT).
In order to access exhaustive regulations and customs tariff rates regarding their products, exporters shall refer to the TARIC code and its database, which includes all applicable customs duties and all customs trade policy measures for all the goods. To note: several EU member states maintain their own list of goods subject to import licensing.
Since its accession to the EU on 1st May 2004, Slovenia has adopted the EU Common External Tariff. Consequently, trade with Slovenia is free of customs duties when the country of origin of the goods is one of the other EU Member States.
Nevertheless, when introducing goods into Slovenia, exporters must fill in written customs declarations on a SAD (Single Administrative Document) or an Intrastat declaration. In order to import agricultural or food products, it is mandatory to pay import levies, except when a product is exempt from customs duties.
As part of the "SAFE" standards set forth by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Programme eCustoms, has been in effect since 1st January 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.
For samples an import document is not necessary in case the sample is of minimum value, not appropriate for sale or intended for trade show - they have to be classified as such and their volume should be appropriate. They can be released for circulation afterwards but only after the full duly import procedure.
With a GDP per capita of USD 28,100 (IMF, 2021), the Slovenian consumer is the wealthiest in the Balkans (Greece included) and Eastern Europe. The Slovenian population is ageing and shrinking with youth aged 0-24 accounting for 23.85% of the total, the median age of 44.9 years and a natural growth rate of -0.03% (CIA World Factbook, 2020 and 2021 est.). Slovenian consumer usually works long hours and has less time spend to leisure activities than the EU average. Nonetheless, labour productivity (82.7%) is also lower than the EU average (Eurostat, latest data available). There are no significant income inequalities among different regions or social groups with Slovenia having one of the lowest Gini index in the world (23.9 out of 100 in 2019, EU average 30.7) (Eurostat, latest data available).
Slovenian consumer is the most affluent among Balkan nations and their spending behaviours are the closest to what can be observed in Western Europe. They are well-informed and prefer local and renowned products to foreign or unknown brands. As the purchasing power improves, the share of leisure products and services in total spending has increased. With increased retail competition, the Slovenian consumer is becoming more demanding, however, sales service, after-sales service and customer support are rather poorly developed. Traditionally, the typical Slovenian consumer is willing to spend more on quality satisfaction for certain basic needs, education (especially for children), housing and cars than for cosmetics, jewellery and trendy outfits. Slovenian consumers are generally accustomed to paying in monthly instalments, even for lower-cost goods. Slovenian consumer confidence reached an all-time high at the end of 2017 with high expectations for the country's economy and the labour market. Consumer confidence remains similar to the EU and Eurozone averages.
Several distribution channels are open to foreign goods in the marketplace, including wholesaling and retailing, as well as franchising, joint ventures, and licensing. There are a large number of merchants, agents, intermediaries, wholesalers, and retailers available in Slovenia. Any firm may carry out both foreign and domestic trade.
Trade (retail, distribution) is one of the most dynamic economic activities in Slovenia contributing one third of the total economy sales and employing 19% of the labor force within the economy sector. During the last decade this industry went through a number of changes: high consolidation (a few market players owning the great majority of the market), quick emerging of hypermarkets and malls and hard discount stores in the last couple of years, increase of competition, new sales and information chanels (leaflets, catalogues, Internet), increase of negotiating power towards (domestic) producers and vertical linking with them, expansion of domestic players to the ex-Yugoslavia region, expansion of retail trade brands, development of customer loyalty programs. The trade development influenced very positively also to a number of other industries: food and drinks, construction, transport, financial, marketing and others.
Slovenia’s major distribution centers are located in Brnik and Koper. The port of Koper is Slovenia’s only seaport and is located in the western part of the country on the Adriatic Sea. Smaller distribution centers can also be found in major cities such as Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city.
Slovenian consumers are increasingly shopping at discount stores and supermarkets, leading to sales growth for industry players.In Slovenia, discounters are very popular and have a large market share. Major industry actors include:
At the end of 2017, Slovenia had a population of 2.08 million people, out of which 1.66 million were internet users, making the penetration rate 79.9%. The telecommunications network is extremely developed in Slovenia. The country is highly connected, with easy internet access and strong coverage throughout all areas. Slovenia ranks 26th out of 79 countries in the 2018 Global Connectivity Index due to competitive pricing in broadband services and investments in big data and mobile broadband. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 79% of Slovenians aged between 16 and 74 used the internet in the first quarter of 2017, while only 18% of people in that age group had never used it. The Statistical Office also states that 97% of people aged between 16 and 74 used mobile phones during that same period. Out of those people, 73% used smartphones. As of July 2018, the most popular browser in the country by market share was Chrome (64.37%), followed by Firefox (12.86%), Safari (8.94%), Internet Explorer (6.01%), Edge (2.56%) and Samsung Internet (2.54%). As for search engines, Google (96.7%) dominates Slovenia's market, followed by Bing (2.08%) and Yahoo (0.67%).
E-commerce revenue in Slovenia reached US$ 336 million in 2018 and is expected to reach US$ 475 million by 2022, at an estimated annual growth rate of 9.1% (Statista). According to Euromonitor International, internet retailing in Slovenia continued to grow in popularity in 2017, with popular products including apparel and footwear, consumer electronics, appliances, media products, personal accessories and beauty and personal care products. Grocery stores are opening online stores to reduce overhead costs. Another Euromonitor International report notes that most modern grocery retailers offered Android and iOS apps to create shopping lists and promotions. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 46% of Slovenians aged between 16 and 74 (around 703,080 people) made purchases online in 2017, out of which 50% bought clothes, sporting goods or shoes. Most online shoppers were between 16 and 34 years old, as 70% of people in that age group made online purchases in 2017. On the other hand, only 11% of Slovenians aged between 64 and 74 shopped online during that same period. Online shopping is popular among men and women, as 47% of online buyers are females and 45% are male. Slovenians prefer shopping from local websites, given that 77% of purchases in 2017 were made from online sellers in Slovenia. Additionally, 48% of e-buyers purchased from other EU countries, and 28% bought products from the rest of the world. Most purchases were made via desktop (89%), while 4% of shoppers preferred to buy using smartphones, and 3% did it using tablets. As for the preferred payment methods, prepaid cards are popular in the country, accounting for 63% of purchases. Other popular payment options include mobile (17%), credit cards (10%), and e-wallets (9%). Mimovrste doo maintained its place as the internet retailing leader in value terms. Some popular e-stores include Ceneje.si, Mimovrste.si, Nakupovanje.net, Mercator.si, Amazon, eBay, and Ali Express.
Organizing Goods Transport
Main Useful Means of Transport
More than two-thirds of all transported goods in Slovenia are carried by roads. The rest (approx. 30%) are more or less equally divided between the railways (13%) and sea ports (17%). The two main distribution centers in Slovenia are Brnik and Koper. Koper is the only seaport in Slovenia, located on the Adriatic Sea. Brnik houses the largest commercial airport of the country. The cities of Ljubjana and Maribor are smaller distribution centers.
The transport share of GDP is around 7%, while its share in total employment is around 5.5%.
Manufacturing contributes 20% of GDP and had a relatively strong growth in the past years. Manufacturing employs more than 25% of the workforce. In terms of the value added, leaders are chemical industry (especially pharmaceutical and rubber tyres), automotive industry, food and beverages, electric domestic appliances, iron metallurgy, metalworking. However, Slovenia is becoming stronger in services: trade, telecommunications, tourism, transport and logistics. Traditionally, Slovenia was relatively strong also in computer software development and electronics.
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