Pandemic boosts Slovenia's trade with China

Ljubljana, 12 November - Slovenia's imports from China saw a surge during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially due to imports of protective equipment and medical supplies. The imports of these products rose from last year's EUR 972,000 to EUR 92.9 million in the first eight months of this year, the Statistics Office said on Thursday.

A shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

After China introduced strict coronavirus measures in January, the value of imports from the country dropped by 34.8% year on year in February. Exports from Slovenia to China were not affected and remained level in monthly comparison.

In March, imports from China continued to drop before surging in April, when they reached EUR 150.6 million, the highest value since 2010, when the Statistics Office started keeping a record.

The next month, imports were slightly lower than in April but still 27.7% higher than in May 2019. In the first eight months of the year, imports from China rose by 13.8% compared to the same period last year.

The surge in imports was mostly due to the imports of various pieces of protective equipment and other medical supplies. The imports of products from the category of finished textile products, which includes face masks, rose from EUR 972,000 to EUR 92.9 million in the January to August period year on year.

These products accounted for the bulk of imports in the first eight months.

A substantial surge was also recorded in the imports of clothes that include protective garments used during surgical procedures (from EUR 65,000 to EUR 11.6 million), devices enabling artificial ventilation, which includes ventilators (from EUR 128,000 to EUR 8.9 million), and gloves (from EUR 13,000 to EUR 5.7 million).

The epidemic did not seem to affect Slovenia's exports to China, which increased by 3.5% year on year in the first eight months.

Slovenia mostly exported parts for rotational electrical machines, oak timber and parts of vehicle bodywork to China.

Slovenia's imports from China have been rising steadily since 2000. Last year, China was Slovenia's eighth most important trading partner in terms of imports and the second most important among non-EU countries, preceded only by Switzerland.

Imports from China increased sevenfold since Slovenia joined the EU until the end of 2019, and reached the highest peak last year, when they accounted for 12.6% of all imports from non-EU countries.

Last year, Slovenia's exports to China were four times lower than imports. Slovenia imported EUR 265.3 million worth of goods to China, which is 3% of the country's total exports to non-Eu countries. This makes China eighth most important trading partner for Slovenia in terms of exports outside the EU.

© STA, 2020