Skopje, 15th September 2016 (MIA) – Around five hundred domestic companies cooperate directly with investors in the technological-industrial development zones. Total value of supplies from the domestic companies ordered by the companies located in the TIDZs amounts to around EUR 50 million a year, however the potential for cooperation is not used to its fullest.

This was pointed out by Minister of Finance, Kiril Minoski, at the “Macedonia Manufacturing Expo”, held in Skopje, aimed at encouraging cooperation of the domestic companies with the foreign one.

He also said that in order to help the domestic companies to be included in the chain of suppliers faster, the foreign companies need to cooperate with them by transferring the experience on how to upgrade their manufacturing capacities, to improve the production, to apply new technologies and to adequately develop the human resources.

– When Macedonian companies become part of the supply chain of the global companies, they will gain access to the global market as well through the existing supply chain of the multinational companies, Minoski underlined, saying that the companies have the Government as their partner, which undertakes series of measures to establish an excellent business climate.

Networking of the small-size companies with the large manufacturers, according to the American Ambassador to the country, Jess Baily, boosts both the economic growth and the employment.

He underlined that several Macedonian companies, on the basis of databases on products of more than 200 Macedonian light industry companies, had signed long-term cooperation agreements.

– The Unite States have been supporting the light industry in Macedonia for 10 years now. For instance, USAID Small Business Expansion Project is aimed at working with the industry and the institutions in creating a database, the goal of which is to gather and promote data on products of more than 200 Macedonian companies engaged in this sector. Such sharing of information is an important resource for the economic promoters working on attracting foreign investors, Baily said.

Swiss Ambassador, Sybille Suter, pointed out that companies in Macedonia have the potential to become suppliers of foreign companies, however they need to be supported thereto.

She went on saying that Switzerland has been supporting this industry for 13 years and such support has resulted in cooperation among 30 companies that have participated in fairs and expos, exporting to the EU and to Switzerland. The companies have been also supported in improving their products so as they meet the suppliers’ needs.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to the country, Wouter Plomp, pointed out that foreign investments in Macedonia and other Western Balkan countries are the main driving force of development, however, as he said, Macedonia needs to catch up with the other countries in the region as regards the foreign investments, the political and the economic stability of the country being important therefore, as well as the December elections.

Marta Naumovska Grnarova, Chairwoman of the Association of Metal and Electric Industry, underlined that opening of the foreign markets is of great significance for the metal industry companies, and this Conference is an opportunity to commence any cooperation.- Our products are, above all, export oriented and we need help in this segment, since it is much easier to penetrate the market together, than doing it individually, she said.

The Conference is organized by the USAID Small Business Expansion Project, co-funded by the Government of Switzerland, the Association of Metal and Electric Industry MAMEI and the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion of the Republic of Macedonia, supported by the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Macedonia, the American Chamber of Commerce in Macedonia, the Netherlands Embassy to the Republic of Macedonia and the Directorate for Technological Industrial Development Zones.

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