Buying and Selling

flag Moldova Moldova: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
International Economic Cooperation
The Republic of Moldova is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The country has also signed a number of bilateral agreement namely with Serbia and Romania.
Non Tariff Barriers
Customs duties are fairly low in Moldova but the administrative procedures are slow and the corresponding fees high.  There are also numerous customs restriction on certain products which sometimes makes conducting business in Moldova very difficult.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Most of the products are taxed at 5% of the customs value of their country of origin.

Customs Classification
The rates are determined by the HS Nomeclature of the Republic of Moldova which is based on the International Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
Import Procedures
All importers have to make a customs declaration in the national language.  The customs authorities are allowed to seize samples of imported products.  After document and physical verification of the merchandise and payment of the customs duties, the products are allowed on the Moldovan territory.

For more information, refer to the Republic of Moldova's Customs website.

Importing Samples
The procedure is the same for samples.

For more information, refer to the Republic of Moldova's customs website.

For Further Information
Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Main Advertising Agencies
Publicis Moldova
Papa Print

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
Distribution and sales channels have developed significantly over recent years, though they are still not as sophisticated as in the rest of Europe.  With the opening of several modern shopping malls and large retail stores, especially in the capital city of Chisinau, sales practices have been improving.  Sales are mostly concentrated in two major cities of the country – the capital city of Chisinau, and Balti, the second largest city of the country.  Companies could also consider having sales outlets for their products in district centers.

As a relatively small market, without challenging terrain, the major problem in developing distribution channels is poor infrastructure.  Moldova is a landlocked country and shipping products by sea takes place via nearby Black Sea ports in Ukraine and Romania.  Overland transportation to and from the ports is usually done by trucks and involves crossing state borders and customs clearance, which add extra costs and time to the shipment of goods.  The recently completed Giurgiulesti International Port on the Danube River is strategically important and may help Moldova enjoy access to cheaper transportation by sea.  The port is accessible to both fluvial and maritime vessels.

Among the challenges faced by distributors is usually illegal trade and smuggling through the weakly controlled Moldovan-Ukrainian border in the east along the breakaway region of Transnistria.

Market share
Modern retail channels cohabit with local grocery stores, who remain very present in Moldova. Among the main brands, we can mention the following :
-    Green Hills Market : Green Hills Market is the biggest network of shopping centers of Moldova, including 6 shops in the capital and one in the south of the country— in Comrat city.
-    Metro Cash & Сarry- is the international market leader of the retail trade.
-    Supermarket – ul N°1: The shopping centers network of the capital, that proposes to the consumer imported and domestic productions.
Retail Sector Organisations
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova
Probiz Retailer Association in Moldova

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Internet access
By the end of 2017, Moldova had a population of 4 million people, out of which 2.8 million were internet users, making the penetration rate 71.2%. Internet in Moldova is one of the cheapest in the world (US$ 9.8 monthly; US$ 2.25 per gigabyte for access via local SIM cards). In 2017, there were 90.4 mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, while 80.7% of households had internet access at home. While Moldova's penetration rates aren't extraordinary, the country's internet infrastructure is world-leading. However, even though the infrastructure is there, many people are still not connected to the internet, which is mainly due to the prices of computer devices. However, access to internet and mobile internet is increasing as the use of smartphones is spreading and the local operators are upgrading their infrastructure to 4G and expanding fibre optic networks. Wi-fi is ubiquitous at restaurants and hotels in Chisinau and other big cities, and is almost always free. However, 4G coverage is still spotty outside of urban centres. Facebook (used by 800,000 people), odnoklassniki and twitter are the most popular social media websites. As of September 2018, the most popular search engines in the country by market share were Google (92.7%), YANDEX RU (3.91%), (1.53%), Yahoo! (0.81%), Bing (0.53%), and DuckDuckGo (0.45%). As for browsers, the most popular ones were Chrome (73.46%), Safari (6.13%), Firefox (5.71%), Android (4.7%), Opera (2.88%), and Samsung Internet (2.45%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is still in its early stages in Moldova, with only a few merchants in the market and a small portion of Moldovans shopping online. Nevertheless, growing use of the internet, credit cards, PayPal and online banking is favouring e-commerce development. Given the size of the market, there is still no official data on e-commerce revenue. It is estimated that mobile commerce will become a supplement to the e-commerce industry thanks to the growing rates of mobile penetration and widespread use of smartphones in the country. There is a big potential for B2B e-commerce as many online stores may be used by small businesses to purchase products for reselling. According to a statement delivered by the government, the development of the ICT sector and trade facilitation are main priorities on the economic development plan. It intends to facilitate customs procedures, integrate technology in the supply-management chain and eliminate the barriers faced by trade and e-commerce. It means that all implemented trade facilitation reforms should have a component aimed at  the development of e-commerce and the facilitation of cross-border e-commerce transactions. Some of the most popular websites are AliExpress, Amazon, ASOS, ebay, Rozetka and Zap. Electronics retailers were among the first to set up online stores. Unlike traditional retail business, there are fewer trade entry barriers in this sector. China-based as well as US-based e-commerce websites for online purchases of primarily consumer electronics are very popular among Moldovans. Footwear and clothing are mostly purchased from France and the United Kingdom. Domestic e-commerce websites rarely accept electronic payment methods, so purchases are paid by cash on delivery or wire transfers. Regarding the e-commerce services there are a few domestic e-commerce aggregator‎s that compare prices on products sold online (All Prices), digitise sales of tickets (iTicket), deliver restaurant food (Straus) and help deliver products purchased online from a wide range of international retailers to Moldova (Fullship, Pesoto).

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
30% of the merchandise is transported by road.  The lack of investment in the maintenance and renovation of the road network (more than 12,700 kilometers) means that the roads are in a bad state.  Most of the untarmacked roads are old military roads, that do not cross through any villages and are therefore not ideal for transporting merchandise in the towns.

A European road that is in better condition and can be used to transport merchandise passes through Moldova and goes up to Moscow. 
Railroad transport is a very important means of transport for merchandise and assuredly the most practical. There are more than 1000 kilometers of rail in Moldova and despite the bad state of the network, the train remains the primary method of transporting merchandise.

Since 2009, Moldova has an access to the sea via the port of Giurgelesti, almost at the confluence of the Danube and the Prut. This is a commercial port with a passenger terminal. Goods transportation can also be done via two of the country's rivers. The three principal ports are Bender, Rybnitsa and Varnitsa.

Ministry of Transport and road industry of Moldova (in Moldovan)
Balti International Airport
Chisinau International Airport
Sea Transport Organisations
Ministry of Transport and Road Industry of the Republic of Moldova (naval subdivision)
Air Transport Organisations
Civil Aviation Administration of the Republic of Moldava
Road Transport Organisations
Ministry of Transport and Road Industry of the Republic of Moldova (road subdivision, in Moldovan)
Rail Transport Organisations
Ministry of Transport and Road Industry of the Republic of Moldova (train subdivision, in Moldovan)

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Industrial production is dominated by the food industry and the production of bevarages. Food and drinks account for approximately 45% of the industrial production. The most significant and valuable production is the production of wine which represents 15% of all the industrial production. Canned products and primary products are also very important for the industrial sector (5%). The industrial sector remains very dependent on the import of primary products.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories - Moldova - Directory of companies in Moldova
Yellow Pages of Moldova - Business directory in Moldova.

To search directories by industry in Moldova, check out our service Business Directories.

Professional Associations by Sector
1 professional associations listed for Moldova.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Chamber of  Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova
General Professional Associations
Confederation of the Trade Unions association of the Republic of Moldova

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Latest Update: May 2024