Slovakia to feel most pain from Trump car tariffs

Trump's threat was the latest salvo in an escalating trade war that saw the European Union slap duties on US-made jeans and motorcycles in a tit-for-tat response to US tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.

Slovakia to feel most pain from Trump car tariffs

World Bulletin / News Desk

As the world's largest per capita car producer, Slovakia stands to be hit hardest if US President Donald Trump makes good on his threat to impose a 20 percent tariff on cars imported from the EU, analysts say.

The spectre of US tariffs that sent shares in Fiat Chrysler, Daimler and BMW tumbling on European stock exchanges also spooked Slovakia's automotive sector.

It boasts Germany's Volkswagen -- which is Slovakia's biggest private-sector employer -- France's PSA and South Korean Kia along with more than 300 automotive supply companies.

All told, they generate over 300,000 jobs in the eurozone country of 5.4 million. Jaguar Land Rover will also open a new plant in September.

This makes Slovakia the EU's leading car and car part exporter to the United States in terms of share of GDP -- and the most vulnerable to tariffs.

"The ratio of overseas car exports to Slovakia's GDP is significantly the highest among all countries of the EU, with it being up to 1.7 percent," the Slovak Institute for Financial Policy (IFP) said in a study.

"An increase in customs duties on car imports would have the biggest impact on Slovakia," it concluded.

As the only Slovakia-based carmaker that exports directly to the US, Volkswagen -- and its many local suppliers -- will suffer the most should US tariffs be slapped on the high-end Touareg, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne models produced at its Bratislava plant.

Overall, the carmaking sector has a 44 percent share of Slovakia's total industrial production and 35 percent of its exports.

Last year, 1,001,520 cars rolled off assembly lines in Slovakia and exports were worth 3.7 billion euros ($4.3 billion).

Annual production has exceeded one million cars in each of the last three years and is forecast to grow by more than a third by 2020.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Temmuz 2018, 11:30
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