Gruevski in Berlin: Macedonia offers the lowest business costs and quality work force

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A government delegation led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski , consisting of the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Vladimir Pesevski, The Minister without portfolio in charge of attracting foreign investment Bill Pavleski and Directorate for Technological Industrial Development Zones CEO Viktor Mizo, attended an economic visit to Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, where they attended a conference late last night, which was organized by the Association of Central and Eastern Europe.

Eastern and Central Europe Association unites the German companies which operate in 29 countries in Central and East Europe. At the invitation of the Association, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski addressed to the representatives of several German companies, where he explained the initiatives and benefits of closer bilateral economic cooperation with Germany.

-Germany is the most important trade partner to Macedonia because 20% from the export goes in this country, Gruevski said. Besides having strong economic and trade cooperation, Germany in the last several years is becoming important investor in Macedonia, expressed in several large investments by German companies as Kromberg & Schubert and Draexlmaier, which opened businesses in Macedonia and realise export, Gruevski said.

-We are a small country and we have the opportunity to realise very frequent communication with the companies. If one comes to Macedonia I would recommend to meet the companies that have already invested in the country and to hear their opinions. We are open for direct communication with companies any time and we are available to help with any problem, aimed at successful investment realising, he said.

Macedonia invests in opening technological industrial development zones offering favourable conditions for the investors. Several companies used the benefits and opened even second capacities as Johnson Matthey, Van Hool, Johnson Controls, TeknoHose and Prodis.

Investors in these zones are entitled to 10-year profit tax exemption and to 100% reduction of personal income tax for a period of 10 years, so that the effective rate of personal income tax will amount to 0%. Investors are exempt from payment of value added tax and customs duties for goods, raw materials, equipment and machines. The zones- land is available under long-term lease for a period of up to 99 years at concessionary prices. Free connection to natural gas, water and sewage network, Gruevski said.

Huge steps aimed at improving the business climate in Macedonia have been made and one of the most important is Regulatory Guillotine project which shortened and even fully cancelled bureaucratic barriers which hindered development of businesses, he said.

Macedonia  have improved its position at the annual edition of WB Doing Business rank list in only 6 years, he said, adding that from 94th place in 2006 today we are ranked 25th in the world out of 183 countries. Macedonia is also ranked among the best countries for doing business according to Forbes (form 82nd to 37th place) and 35 positions according to Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom (from 78th to 43rd place), Gruevski underlined.

Gruevski also referred to the reforms made in the sphere of education, emphasizing that Macedonia is not only offering lowest costs for doing business but also offers well-educated work force.

Macedonia conducts stable macroeconomic policy and is the fourth least indebted country in Europe and has fourth highest economy growth in the first 6 months of this year, Gruevski said.

The government delegation, which also includes Deputy PM for Economic Affairs Vladimir Pesevski,  Minister for Foreign Investments Bill Pavleski and the Directorate for Technological and Industrial Development Zones’ CEO Viktor Mizo, on the conference sidelines met with officials of famous German companies and investors.

Director of Deutsche Bank for Central and Eastern Europe Peter Tils said that Macedonia is using innovative instruments to approach the capital markets and results are very positive.

-You have one of the best rankings in the region. The Minister of Finance is doing everything regarding the budget and we expect next year the deficit to be 1 percent. I can see that there are many investors interested to visit your country and I think this is an important issue, the country to lobby for foreign direct investments, is absolutely the right thing to do, Tils said, adding that unemployment rate should be decreased aimed at helping attracting the foreign direct investments.

Herald Grams, owner of consulting and law company “Grams and Partner” said that Macedonia is very interesting place for investment and Macedonian government is open for attracting foreign capital. The Industrial sector is of great importance, but one should not forget the services that can be given through Macedonia. Today the business is globalized, mostly located in the US or the UK and is distributed in the different parts of the world. In a globalized world we want to invest in work places in Europe and to see whether it is good for the country and i think that the best opportunities for this are offered in the Balkans, Grams said.

Gerd Lenga, President of East and Central Europe Association, said that Macedonia offers good opportunities which should be used. This presentation of favourable conditions should be used by German companies interested for cooperation.

-We are association that supports German companies which operate in 29 countries in Central and East Europe. We are holding a conference once in a year and this is the third time. We usually invite two to three government officials from the countries we are working with and we are happy that your Prime Minister is here today. Mr. Tils from Deutsche Bank also referred to financial situation which I also think it is a good opportunity, Lenga said.

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