ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovakia wins import surcharge defence at WTO

The committee for balances of payments at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled on September 21 that Slovakia had been justified in increasing its import surcharge from zero to 7% as of June 1. The committee recognised that the import surcharge was part of a package of measures designed to stabilise Slovakia's macroeconomic situation, and called the surcharge a painful but necessary step.

The surcharge should remain at 7% until December 31, 1999, when it will be lowered to 5%. From July 1, 2000 it will drop to 3%, and will be eliminated on January 1, 2001. The import surcharge first applied to approximately 80% of Slovakia's imports, but exemptions later lowered this figure to 70%.

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