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Car import ban may harm Slovakia

ECONOMIC sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia have had little impact on Slovakia’s automotive industry so far. But a Russian ban on car imports could hurt Slovakia, and Europe could lose markets there, too.

Carmakers in Slovakia export 14 percent of their production to Russia, the TASR newswire wrote in mid September.

Kia Motors Slovakia exports one fifth of its production to Russia and Volkswagen Slovakia ranks Russia among its top 10 export markets. PSA Peugeot Citroën, however, exports only a few Peugeot 208s to Russia, the Pravda daily wrote.

Jaroslav Holeček, head of the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP), sees a decline in car sales in Russia, and especially in Ukraine, as an already existing problem. According to him, the dispute between the EU and Russia should be resolved in a diplomatic way as soon as possible and not by extending sanctions, which may result in harmful retaliatory measures.

“If Russia fulfils its threat to ban imports of cars from Europe, this would have a significant impact on Slovakia,” said Holeček, as cited by TASR. “Not only on carmakers, but also subcontractors.”

Such a ban might result in losing positions on the Russian market and an excess of cars in Europe.

“Russians like foreign goods - more precisely Western goods - very much,” said Holeček. “If we lose the place on the Russian market, we will not win it back. If they halt imports from Europe, they [the Russians] will turn, without any problems, to Asian carmakers.”

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Topic: Industry


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