28 December 2011

Macedonia's trade exchange with Middle East, Maghreb countries without strategy

Macedonia's foreign trade exchange with countries in the Middle East and Maghreb is occurring incidentally, without a general strategy. Companies' attempts to bolster it are still hampered by unestablished preferential trade, visa regime, complex and expensive procedure for document verification and the lack of diplomatic and consular offices. Modest bilateral regulation is also seen as a problem, it was concluded at a news conference Monday at the Economic Chamber of Macedonia.
Country's total exchange with Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya in the period between January and October 2011 stood at 50.7 million US dollars, out of which $15.6 million were accumulated by export and 34.9 million by import. Trade deficit is $19.3 million, while import-export coverage is 44.4%.
Ljubica Nuri of the Economic Chamber said that the Arab Spring did not significantly affect trade exchange, which was boosted with Algeria and Tunisia, but hugely reduced with Libya.
Macedonia in Middle East and Maghreb countries primarily exports agricultural and food products (33.3%) and iron and steel products (39.1%). The import balance includes household products, electronic devices and equipment (26.6%), construction materials (19.8%), petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (12.9%) as well as agricultural and food produces (7.7%)."
Macedonian companies can increase their competitiveness on markets in the Middle East with Halal certification not only of products, but also of services," Nuri stated.Economic Chamber data suggest that this year a foreign-trade surplus has been realised with Iraq, Lebanon, UAE, Bahrain, Yemen and Tunisia, while trade deficit has occurred with Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

27 December 2011

Skopje more expensive than London, Moscow

Household appliances, clothing, footwear and many other products are cheaper in London, Moscow and Athens than in Skopje! Although hard to believe, since Macedonian standard and purchasing power of citizens is lower, our search for various offers on websites and looking at world-famous brands showed perhaps an expected conclusion - Macedonians pay the highest prices for the same products in comparison with neighbors and citizens of European countries.
For example, television brand "Sony", ready for viewing in 3D, with a 117 cm screen size, Macedonians paid 1,720 euros, while it is 1,666 euros for the Croats and in Serbia cost 1,500 euros. The Bulgarians in Sofia paid 950 euros for the same TV, almost half of what Macedonians pay.
The same television brand in European countries can be found on an average for 1,150 euros.
Another example is for a new model of child car seat ("Kiko" brand) in Macedonia is 178 euros, while the Brits and other European countries pay between 120-150 euros.
Set of kitchen cutlery from three pieces of Italian brand "Guzzini" in Macedonia cost 31 euro, while Guzzini's website sells them for 19.5 euros."Timberland" shoes in Skopje are selling between 7,000 and 11,000 denars ($140-$200), while simple visit to Timberland's website will see the same shoes ranging from $70 to $75 dollars.

Skopje and Zagreb become Sister Cities

Skopje mayor Koce Trajanovski and Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic signed a Charter of Friendship and Cooperation a few days ago. The goal of the document is to enable the two cities to have mutual goals and results, with a special focus on enhancement of economic and cultural connections.In this way, exchange of experience in the environmental protection, mutual learning about the culture, history and tradition, cooperation between museums and universities, cooperation in education, urban development and state-owned companies will be enabled.
Moreover, the two cities will cooperate within the framework of international organizations whose members they are. Trajanovski said that Zagreb’s experience in the European integration could significantly help Skopje.

Business centre for cross-border initiatives opens in Stip

Business centre for cross-border initiatives opens in Stip as part of project "Cross-Border Business Networking for Sustainable Growth" financed by IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Programme between the Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia.
The work of the business centre, which operates within Centre for Development of Eastern Planning Region, aims at development and improvement of economy and business cooperation between companies directed to strengthening business climate in cross-border regions between Bulgaria and Macedonia.
Centre offers services in the sphere of informing target groups, mapping economic subjects in cross-border region and informing about local business events, also gives information on changes in legal, financial and customs spheres and connection of legal entities from cross-border region aimed at establishing mutual cooperation.
Head of Centre for Development of Eastern Planning Region, Dragica Zdraveva said that by opening of the business centre and the opportunities it offers will bring development of companies in cross-border region and will attract new investments.
Business centre will operate at the territory of Macedonia’s Eastern Planning Region and Bulgaria’s Blagoevgrad region.

22 December 2011

Fairytale festival in "Feniks"

Publishing house "Feniks" hosts a fairytale festival within its New Year's book fair, held December 20-31 in four Skopje-based bookstores.
Children will have the opportunity to acquaint with the most beautiful international and Macedonian fairy tales in the form of coloring and picture books, as well as attend interactive fairytale readings in culture center "Feniks" near Skopje's Universal Hall.
Creative workshops themed 'fairytale' will be held in several kindergartens, along with fairytale books' promotion.

Macedonia Blanketed by Snow

Snowboarder near the Stone Bridge in Skopje
Heavy snowfalls was registered across Macedonia today.
Skopje was covered 10 cm snow cover while eastern and southern Macedonia are expecting up to 30cm of snow.
The ski season is officially open!

Electronic equipment, tobacco and clothes spur Macedonian Economy

In the first two months of the third quarter this year, volume of the total industrial production grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year, which represents growth slowdown, however it still is much better than any country in the Eurozone.
Despite the fact that growth depends significantly on trends in the Eurozone, Macedonian economy can demonstrate great resistance to negative effects of the environment in line with structural changes in economy and expansion of production capacities, which is expected to contribute to additional increase of the Macedonian growth potential.
Production of electronic equipment, tobacco products and clothes has greatly contributed to the economic growth in the past period.

21 December 2011

MANU marks Blaze Koneski's 90th birth anniversary

A formal meeting will be held Monday marking the 90th anniversary from the birth of the first president of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU), the academician Blaze Koneski.
Also Koneski's monument, artwork of Macedonian sculptor Tome Serafimovski, will be unveiled in front of MANU's main entrance.
The monument is made of white marble and is 2.30 meters tall. The 1.50 meters tall pedestal is made of white marble by Beton construction company.

19 December 2011

Winter arrives in Macedonian Village

Number of Air Passengers Increases in Skopje and Ohrid

In October, the number of passengers on airports in Macedonia increased in comparison with the same period last year.
According to the data published by the Macedonian Ministry of Transport a few days ago, the number of passengers on the Skopje and Ohrid airports reached 57,512, compared to 50,541 passengers last year.
The increase is a result of the increased number of passengers on the Skopje airport, which reported 56,180 passengers, which represents an increase of 17.1 percent. The number of regular flight lines grew as well, by 15.4 percent. In October, there were 689 regular lines compared to 597 lines last year.

16 December 2011

Two companies submit bids for construction of hydro plants Cebren and Galiste

Two companies have submitted bids for the construction of hydro power plants Cebren and Galiste.Economy Minister Valon Saraqini said companies PPC from Greece and CWE from China submitted bids until the expiration of Thursday's deadline.
The tendering commission will complete the bids' evaluation by the month-end and submit it to the Government, which is to pass the final decision on the concessions.
PPC has said in its offer that Macedonian Power Plants (ELEM) is to own 28 percent of shares of the future power plants, whereas CWE has offered 40.5 percent. The share percentage offered to ELEM is the main criterion of the tender.
If the concessionaire is selected, the construction of Cebren and Galiste would begin in 1,5 year, following ELEM's completion of access roads and networking of the new power plants.

Bitola Museum nominated for European award "Luigi Micheletti"

National institution Bureau and Museum-Bitola, which pays special attention to museum operations in line with European standards, has been nominated for European award "Luigi Michelleti", presented by the European Museum Academy (EMA).
EMA national coordinator Gordan Nikolov and EMA official Andreja Rihter said 21 European museums compete for the award.
Nikolov said the Bitola museum was the only Macedonian nominee, since it meets the EMA criteria."The Bitola Museum is visible everywhere. One can see everything at its website, which is unfortunately not the case with other museums. It includes practical information for every visitor, which is owed to the excellent management of this national institution", added Nikolov.
Museum director Liljana Hristova said another EMA monitoring team would visit Bitola in the course of January, in light of the final decision for the "Luigi Micheletti" award.
The Luigi Micheletti Award, established in 1996, is the European prize for innovative museums in the world of industry, science and technics.

14 December 2011

Macedonia's tourism potentials presented in Amsterdam

Macedonia's tourism potentials and Macedonian wines were presented Tuesday before Dutch tour-operators in Amsterdam.
The promotion, hosted by Macedonian Ambassador to the Netherlands Nikola Dimitrov, was attended by 30 tour-operators that are already offering Macedonia as a tourism destination, but also ones showing potential interest.
"The Netherlands is one of our main target markets. Until 2010, Karatanova Tours was in charge of the Dutch market, but following the introduction of the subsidy programme, other tour-operators have shown interest, arranging charter-flights to Macedonia, even from Belgium", said Jordan Trajkov, director of the Agency for Support and Promotion of Tourism.
Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov said there is a realistic chance that offer for Dutch tourists increases in 2012.The Amsterdam event was supported by Dutch governmental agency "Holland Gateway".

Number of Foreign Tourists in Macedonia keeps Increasing

In October 2011, the number of tourists in Macedonia amounted to 49,379 and the number of bed-nights reached 119,198, informed the Macedonian State Statistical Office.
These figures show that the number of tourists increased by 17 percent and the number of bed-nights by 24.1 percent compared to October last year.In the same period, the number of Macedonian tourists dropped by 5.8 percent, while the number of foreign tourists increased by 35.2 percent.
Year-on-year, the number of bed-nights of Macedonian tourists increased by 6.1 percent despite the decrease of the number of tourists, and the number of bed-nights of foreign tourists grew by 41.2 percent. Analyses on what this really means for the state budget will be published in a week.

12 December 2011

Macedonia has a Trade Surplus with Belgium

Belgium is one of rare countries with which Macedonia generates trade surplus.
According to the latest statistical data, the surplus amounted to USD 50 million in 2010 and USD 14 million in the first nine months of this year.
In terms of the total trade with the EU, trade with Belgium accounts for 4 percent. According to the Macedonian State Statistical Office, Macedonia exports tobacco, vegetables, ferronickel, textile products and sugar to Belgium.
On the other hand, motor vehicles, oils, iron, steel and plastic products are imported from Belgium.

06 December 2011

Belgian JetAirFly to Connect Brussels and Skopje

New air connection will be established between Skopje and Brussels by Belgian airlinie JetAirFly.
The ticket cost is set at 79 euros. Flights are scheduled to start on May 11, 2012.
JetAirFly from Brussels will operate in a 'triangle' fashion in it that it is first going to land in Ohrid and then Skopje (Brussels - Ohrid- Skopje).

Kaizer Chiefs close 13. Taksirat festival

British indie-rock band "Kaizer Chiefs" closed the 13. Taksirat music festival with a thunderous performance in a packed "Metropolis Arena" at Skopje Fair on Saturday evening.
Kaizer Chiefs came to Skopje straight from Paris prior to their tour that includes over 20 concerts. The popular English band came for the first time in Macedonia, promoting its 'best of' and latest album "The Future is Medieval".
Besides Kaizer Chiefs, Taksirat's final evening included domestic bands Verka and T.B.Traceri, as well as Clawfinger, Asian Dub Foundation, Fat Joe and Buraka som sistema.
Over the past week, audiences had the chance to see a number of musicians and bands, including Dubioza Kolektiv, Diskobajagi, B-real, Psycho Realm, Atari Teenage Riot, S.A.R.S., Jaya The cat, Kawasaki 3p, Nezni Dalibor, Rise of Artificial, General Woo feat, Lil Bear & Dirty Hairy, Canon, Glasnom, Kanton 6, Project 2501, Raw’N’Wicked, DJ Slave, Scratch That Drum, Shutka Roma Rap, Kreepr and Selector Lazy Face.
In the course of its 13-year existence, Taksirat festival has presented exceptional musical names, including Juliete Lewis, Moonspel, Elemental, Hladno Pivo, Guano Apes, Kiril Dzajkovski, Delinquent Habits, Eye Cue, Weding dub., Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Stranglers, Wailers, Iggy pop& The Stooges, DJ Timo Maas, Тiga, The Roots, Marky Ramone, Swayzak, Neville Staple (the Specials), Manu Chao La Ventura and many more.

St. Clement Award goes to Archeologist

The commission in charge of allocating the St. Clement of Ohrid state award has decided upon this year's recipients in the field of education, culture and art.
Archaeologist Dragi Mitrevski is the winner of the 2011 St. Clement of Ohrid award for his achievements in the area of education, the Ministry of Culture says in a press release.
In the field of culture and art, the recognition is presented to academician and writer Luan Starova and painter Nikola Fidanoski.
The accolade will be presented to this year's laureates at a ceremony on the Day of St. Clement of Ohrid (Dec. 8).
The St. Clement of Ohrid state award is the highest recognition for life achievements in the field of education, culture, art, health-care, sports, environment protection and social activities.

03 December 2011

Macedonia presented as gateway for running Japanese businesses in Europe

Macedonia's investment opportunities have been presented for the first time before the Japanese business community in Osaka. Agriculture, food and wine production, manufacturing of car components and low income tax of 10% compared to high taxes in Japan are the most distinguished sectors, which Macedonia is known for, according to the director of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) for Osaka, Suzuki Yatsushi.
Investment opportunities offered by the Republic of Macedonia as a gateway for running businesses in Europe were presented at the second business forum organised by a government delegation led by PM Nikola Gruevski in cooperation with JETRO before representatives of several Japanese companies from the Osaka Prefecture.
Macedonia, the JETRO director said, in recent years has improved its business procedures and now it is ranked 22nd on the Doing Business list by the World Bank, whereas Japan is 20th on the same list.
PM Gruevski in his address underlined the profound respect of the strong collective working ethics and innovative brilliance of Japan, which has helped the hard-working and intelligent nation of Japan to establish the third biggest economy in the world, the government said in a press release.
"The Republic of Macedonia in the past several years for many has become one of the most pleasant surprises and one of the most positive economic examples in Europe," Gruevski noted.
According to the press release, he said that Macedonia's achievements had been recognised by the World Bank in its Doing Business report in which Macedonia was one of the most improved economies and business destinations, while in the 2012 report it was ranked 22nd, thus being higher on the list compared to 19 out of 27 EU member countries. Macedonia's rating is seen as stable and with positive perspectives in a report recently published by the credit rating agency Fitch in circumstances when the agency has lowered the ratings of over 10 European countries - which indicates that Fitch differentiates Macedonia and its policies compared to other countries. According to Gruevski, it came as a result of the Macedonian government's commitment to improve the business climate and working conditions for both domestic and foreign companies.
"Our goal is to attain economic growth, to develop the private sector and to open new jobs. Consequently, we work very hard to enable favourable conditions for companies to make profits and to achieve double benefit - for companies' management and the living standards of Macedonian citizens," Gruevski noted.
"The government is addressing one of its most important challenges to provide educational opportunities for its citizens that are required by modern societies. Macedonia has significantly increased its funding for education, expanded the access to higher education and boosted the use of computers and Internet in public schools and universities. These measures resulted in attracting many famous foreign companies in Macedonia," the PM added.
By implementing a series of structural and institutional reforms, PM Gruevski said that growth and efficiency were being supported as well as investments leading to dynamic market economy, which on its part provided flexibility for the structural changes needed for Macedonia to succeed on international markets and to adapt towards the challenges on the road to EU accession.
Vice PM and Minister of Finance Zoran Stavreski also delivered an address at the business forum presenting country's macroeconomic policy, reforms realized in the tax system, cadastre and central register as well as the investment opportunities in the sector of infrastructure and energy, reads the press release.
Business presentations were also delivered by Minister for Foreign Investments, Bill Pavleski, director of the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion, Visar Fida and director of the Directorate for Technological Industrial Development Zones, Viktor Mizo.
The Osaka business forum wraps up the visit of the government's delegation led by Premier Gruevski to Japan, where the PM met with Crown Prince Naruhito and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda and other government officials. Two business forums in Tokyo and Osaka were organised during the visit as well.

Macedonian Construction Companies Enter New Markets

Macedonian construction companies are considered one of the best in Europe. Because of this the volume of new work has increased in Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Italy and Ukraine, whereas on other markets, Macedonian companies reported a decrease. On the other hand, Montenegro and France are new markets.
Construction companies conducted construction work worth MKD 1.7 billion in Macedonia in the first nine months.
This is 8.9 percent less than in the same period of 2010. According to the data of the Macedonian State Statistical Office, construction companies agreed construction work worth MKD 2 billion on foreign markets. This is 48.9 percent less than in the same period last year due to financial crisis.

Macedonia Enhances Cooperation with Argentina

At the presentation of the Argentinean economy and market at the Macedonian Chamber of Economy, future cooperation between Macedonia and Argentina was promoted.
This cooperation represents entry into the South American economic community MERKOSUR, which has a market of 298 million customers. 
This was said by Guillermo Salvador Azrak, Argentinean ambassador in Sofia in charge of Macedonia. He explained that MERKOSUR’s full members are also Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, while Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Columbia are affiliated members.
Azrak added that there is a lot more manoeuvring room and possibilities for improvement of economic cooperation between the two countries.

01 December 2011

Kromberg & Schubert in Bitola

Germany-based company Kromberg & Schubert will start building a plant in Bitola in December. The long awaited plant for production of car cables will start employing workers as of May. At first, it will hire 500 people and then the number will grow to 2,500 people.
Moreover, another six investments in Bitola are expected. They pertain to construction of hotels, but some investors are also interested in timber, food and milk industry. In the meantime, the government’s team presented investment possibilities in Macedonia last week.
Several Austrian and German companies have already announced that they are interested in investing in Macedonia. Allegedly, Siemens and BMW are among the interested investors. Moreover, the government team has already agreed cooperation with Teksport, which already has two plants in Macedonia.

Japan, Macedonia agree to boost tourism, study, business exchanges

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his visiting Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski agreed Wednesday to boost their countries' tourism, study and business exchanges, Japanese officials said.
Gruevski, the first Macedonian prime minister to visit Japan, voiced hope that his visit will strengthen bilateral ties, after Noda thanked the Balkan country for its aid for Japan in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Gruevski also expressed his country's intention to open an embassy in Japan, the Foreign Ministry said.At the outset of their meeting, which was open to the press, Noda assured his visitor that "reconstruction in disaster-hit areas is underway and the supply chains have almost fully recovered.
"Macedonia, which gained its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, is aiming for economic development through foreign capital.