ECONOMIC links between Portugal and Slovakia are not extensive, but there are signs that they may soon grow. The automotive, electronics and IT sectors, as well as infrastructure projects, are the most likely to see growth in cooperation, according to Portugal’s ambassador to Slovakia. Moreover, the European single currency, which Slovakia adopted at the beginning of the year, should further support economic ties.
“I suppose the most important change in recent years was to consolidate the connection between the two economies in the automotive sector,” Ambassador José Vieira Branco told The Slovak Spectator. “Since the integration of Slovakia in the European Union [in 2004], trade between the two countries has evolved from a random exchange of goods to a structured flow of components and final products in one sector – the automotive area. This is now the most important area as far as the exchanges between both countries are concerned.”
There is much more work to do in other areas which are appealing to Portuguese businesspeople, said Branco, listing the electronics and IT sectors and a deeper involvement in the next phase of Slovak infrastructure development.
Branco believes that the introduction of the euro in Slovakia will be a strong tool for all elements of trade, from the promotion of goods to the red tape which follows actual buying and selling operations. The common currency also brings stability to the pricing of services and goods.
Portuguese companies in Slovakia are active in two main sectors: building and banking.
“Though it is not an extensive presence, it shows how Portuguese operators are interested in Slovakia,” said Branco.
One of them is the major Portuguese construction group Mota-Engil; another is a bank, Banco Mains, which is a leading provider of car loans in Portugal. It operates in Slovakia through a branch office, Bank Plus Slovakia.
Slovakia has a positive trade balance with Portugal. According to data from the Slovak Statistics Office, the surplus was €69.3 million for the period between January and October 2008. Slovakia exported goods worth €143 million into Portugal during this period, making up 0.3 percent of Slovakia’s total exports. Imports from Portugal amounted to €73.9 million, or 0.2 percent of Slovakia’s total imports.
9. Feb 2009 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková