Slovakia Overview of Economy
As a result of strikes and difficulties in the transition from a socialist to an open economy, the Slovak economy, despite a skilled and educated labor force, has not succeeded in reaching its potential.
In 2003, exports from Slovakia, approximately 47%, were the export of machinery and transport equipment. Other significant exports, some 37%, were the export of local industrial products.
The main imports into Slovakia in 2003, in excess of 41%, were machinery and transport equipment. Other significant imports were oil and fuel, approximately 12% and chemicals, some 10%.
Slovakia's main trading partners are the countries of the EU. There is also a close relationship with the Czech Republic that derives from their joint past and the standard tariffs agreement.
In 2003 the main export, some 36%, was to Germany. Exports to the Czech Republic in that year represented approximately 13% of total exports.
The main imports in that same year, about 28%, were from Germany. The Czech Republic (18%) and Russia (12%) were other significant sources of imports.
Among the natural resources found in the Republic are deposits of lignite (brown coal), iron, copper, magnesium and salt. Processing the coal causes severe environmental pollution. As a result of the pollution, environmental laws were enacted in 1993. Local industry specializes mainly in the chemical and plastics industries, consumer goods, food processing and of course, coal mining as coal is one of Slovakia's most important natural resources.
The per capita GDP in Slovakia for the year 2003 was $ 13,300.
Agriculture contributes some 4% to the GDP. The balance of the GDP is made up, in the main, of services - some 67%, and industry that contributes approximately 29%.
An analysis of the main economic indices in Slovakia shows that after a fall in the rate of annual growth for the years 1999 - 2000, from 2001 growth increased to 4.0%.
There has been a slight improvement in the rate of inflation in Slovakia. While inflation in 1999 - 2000 was over 10%, in 2003, it was 8.6%.
Unemployment presents one of the severest problems in the Slovak economy. The rate of unemployment reached 15% in 2003 The high rate is accounted for mainly by the elimination of inefficient factories.
On 1.5.2004 Slovakia joined the European Union. The EU accession will, no doubt, improve the Slovakia economy dramatically.
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