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Business delegation from Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, together with a delegation of the Chamber of North-West Macedonia, participates in an Economic Mission in Albania which focuses on intensifying the business cooperation and establishing new business relations between companies from both countries.

Within the economic mission, meetings with the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Edi Rama and meetings with ministers from the Government of Albania were established, particularly, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Minister of Finance, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water, the Minister of Energy and Industry and the Minister for Innovation and Public Administration. Additionally, during this visit, there will be meetings with the Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce of Tirana and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Albania, the Mayors of Tirana and Durres, the director of the port of Durres and the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Durres.

For the last part of the economic mission, it is envisaged a Business and Investment Forum in Tirana in cooperation with Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Albania and the Chamber of Tirana which will be attended by companies from Macedonia and Albania, the Minister of Economy of Albania, the Ambassador of Macedonia to Albania and the Albanian Ambassador to Macedonia.

The objective of organizing the Economic Mission to Albania is to create concrete opportunities for increased business cooperation and direct confrontation with specific matters that affect the conditions for doing business between the two countries. Macedonia and Albania are the countries with high average income which underwent a long process of transition to a market economy and implemented a number of reforms aimed at improving the business environment and attract foreign investors in order to boost the economic growth. Both countries are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and signed the FTA in Central Europe (CEFTA) 2006.

Macedonia and Albania have a high volume of trade. Italy remains the most important trade partner for Albania. For Macedonia, the EU is still the largest trading partner for imports and exports, while Germany is the most important partner.

The main constraints that hamper the business cooperation between Macedonia and Albania can be summarized as follows:

  • There is very little information and analysis available to businesses on both sides about opportunities for trade and investments in the other country.
  • Most of the products and industries in Macedonia and Albania are not complementary but mutually competitive.
  • Macedonian products are very price-competitive on the Albanian market due to high transportation costs built into the price.
  • Lack of accurate and reliable statistical information necessary for policy-makers and businessmen in Albania is a problem for increased cooperation between the two countries.

Despite general difficulties in some areas, there are several issues that relate to specific sectors:

  • Macedonian and Albanian agricultural sector share almost the same limitations, the most important being the limited competitiveness of agriculture and food products, mainly because of expensive and less productive manufacturing technologies, lack of uniform quality and lack of added value and finalization of products.
  • In the textile sectors in Macedonia and Albania, businesses dominate through contracts and low added value products. There is a potential for joint participation in trade fairs, organizing B2B events and inviting potential buyers to visit the respective companies in both countries.

Macedonia and Albania have different level of development of tourism and tourism-related infrastructure. However, considering the similarity of amenities, there is great potential to establishing joint tourist offer to attract tourists who are interested in different kinds of tourism. In addition, there is potential to increase cooperation in this field through harmonization of standards for categorization of tourist and catering facilities.

Macedonian Chambers of Commerce has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Industrial Chamber of Durres which encourages and supports the initiatives to promote cooperation, promotion and development of companies from both countries.

In addition, Macedonian Chambers of Commerce in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Research in Albania, implemented the project funded by IPA EU programs for cross-border cooperation entitled “Improving the business Cooperation in the Border Region” in the period from 2013 to 2015, through which were prepared and submitted to the relevant institutions Draft Policies for improving and strengthening the cooperation in terms of exchange of information on economic and trade activities in both countries, strengthening joint tourism promotion, strengthening of activities to promote the export of Macedonian products on the Albanian market, strengthen quality control and laboratory testing support to enhance the exchange of information between national statistical organizations, and support innovation in small and medium enterprises in Macedonia and Albania.

March 16, 2016