Investment and Business Opportunities in North Macedonia Country Day organized by ICI was Discussed
Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) organized a country day with North Macedonia, one of the countries having an economic potential among the Balkans. Zorica Apostolska, Minister of Foreign Investments of North Macedonia and Aktan Ago, Consul General of North Macedonia in Istanbul participated in the North Macedonia Country Day & Investment Opportunities Seminar hosted by Cemal Keleş, ICI Board of Directors Member in Odakule. Numerous industrialists and business people participated in the event and found opportunity to listen the investment and cooperation opportunities in the country.
Cemal Keleş, Istanbul Chamber of Industry’s Board of Directors Member who made a speech at the opening said that there has been close relations and business cooperation between Turkey and North Macedonia based on the common history and culture. Reminding that Turkey is the first country to send Consul General to Skopje, Keleş recorded that the relations is strengthening and intensified in each day through the increasing investment activities of Turkish entrepreneurs in North Macedonia and in each field with Turkish students receiving education in North Macedonia in each year, especially by the support provided by Turkey for North Macedonia to integrate with Europe-Atlantic institutions.
Drawing attention to the fact that the customs tax ratios applied in North Macedonia on the Turkish-origin products have been set to zero with the Free Movement Commercial Contract entered into force by and between North Macedonia and Turkey on 1 September 2000, Keleş stated that a population who have Turkish nationality, speak Turkish and are willing to establish trade and investment relations with Turkey in North Macedonia whose number is 3,9 percent according to the official figures but estimated to be around 5 percent in reality is of a vital importance for Turkey.
Drawing attention that export activities for Macedonia in 2018 corresponded to 397 million dollars while the import activities from Macedonia corresponded to 108 million dollars, Keleş expressed that the bilateral trade volume realized as 505 million dollars approximately has been under its actual potential even if it has an increasing trend.
Stating that there are approximately 100 investors with Turkish capital in North Macedonia, Keleş said that total investment amount realized and planned of such firms has exceeded 1.3 billion euros and the number of its employees is above 5.000. Keleş underlined that North Macedonia is the most effective country amount the region countries in terms of labor force, energy and other all manufacturing costs and general investment environment. Keleş expressed that both historical and cultural bonds and the high potential between the countries are the sign of the need to move the commercial relation with Macedonia to the higher levels.
Zorica Apostolska, Minister of Foreign Investments of North Macedonia Republic said that he has visited Turkey to tell the economic policies of the government to the business people in Istanbul. Recoding to give a strong message for the foreign investors with the recent improvements, Apostolska said that North Macedonia is a safe and stable region for investments. Pointing out that the investments are realized on a single contact point thanks to the agency they established, Apostolska told that they provide various tax exceptions for the first 10 years in the investments. Expressing that following the steps to be taken, Turkish, American and German companies have realized investments in the country, Apostolska recorded that the cooperation will be increased between two countries thanks to Turkish-Macedonian business form. Apostolska invited Turkish investors to North Macedonia.
Aktan Ago, Consul General of North Macedonia Republic in Istanbul said that the commercial volume between two countries has increased since 2014. Mentioning that Turkey has ranked as eighth among the trade partners of North Macedonia in this year, Ago recorded that bilateral trade which corresponded to 441 million dollars in 2014 reached to 521 million dollars. Stating to have a proper commercial relations with Turkey, Ago listed the sectors of automotive part manufacturing, information communication technologies, agriculture and food processing, medicine and medical devices as the sectors which have investment potential. Ago underlined that they are welcomed to provide any information and support for investment activities in North Macedonia.
Then a panel named Turkey-North Macedonia Commerce, Cooperation and Investment Opportunities was held. Bünyamin Kutlu, Trade Specialist of Ministry of Commerce talked about the economic relations between Turkey and North Macedonia. Kutlu said that GDP per person in the country is around 6.100 dollars and the inflation is around 1,5 percent. Stating that various significant firms operate in North Macedonia in the name of Turkey, Kutlu recorded that Turkish product has a positive image.
Radica Bobinska, Head of Department in Foreign Investments of North Macedonia Government talked about the trade and investment opportunities in North Macedonia. Stating that North Macedonia experienced a growth in 3.6 percent in the first half of 2019, Bobinska added that it is a business environment of high efficiency for a foreign investor. Bobinska underlined that corporate tax, income tax, value added tax and property tax for the first 10 years in free economic regions are applied as 0 percent.
Then a panel named as Experiences of Turkish Firms on North Macedonia Markets hosted by Haktan Akın, ICI Secretary General was organized. Bilal Kara, President of DEIK Turkey-North Macedonia Business Council / Chairperson of Board of Directors of Be-KA Sağlık Eğitim Tıbbi Malz. Tekstil Tur. Gıda İnş. Cengiz İnş. San. Ve Tic. Ltd. Bilal Sucubaşı, General Manager of North Macedonia Branch of Halk Bank and Dr. Esfer Ali, Macedonia Financial Affairs Manager of Cevahir Sky City shared their experiences in Macedonia with the participants. Then, panelists replied to the questions of the participants.