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In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in North Macedonia | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

In the absence of adequate domestic savings, foreign investment provides an important avenue for the development of North Macedonia’s economy. According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, net FDI flows to North Macedonia decreased significantly and reached USD 274 million in 2020, compared to USD 446 million a year earlier, as a result of the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 7.3 billion in 2020. According to figures by the Central Bank, the main investing countries in terms of stocks are the UK and Austria, followed by Greece, Netherlands and Slovenia. Manufacturing is the sector that attracts the most FDI, ahead of financial and insurance activities. According to the latest figures available from the Central Bank, in the first half of 2021 FDI into North Macedonia totalled EUR 244.3 million euro in the first half of 2021, compared to a net inflow of EUR 139.6 million in the same period one year earlier. FDI inflow increased mainly as a result of registered net-inflows from reinvestment of earnings and equity and to a lesser extent thanks to intercompany lending.

North Macedonia’s legal and regulatory framework is generally favourable to foreign investors and provides numerous incentives to attract them. Moreover, the country adopted a new law in 2020 to create more favourable conditions for strategic investments. Both the Law on Technological Industrial Development Zones (TIDZ) and the Law on Financial Support of Investments offer incentives to investors. Investors benefit from a ten-year tax exemption on personal and corporate income and free access to public services. Labour costs are low, but on the other hand, there is often a shortage of skilled labour. For sectors such as banking, financial services, insurance, and energy, investors must meet certain licensing requirements (which are the same for domestic and foreign investors). The country has made significant efforts to harmonise its legal framework with the criteria, standards and practices of the European Union. A number of challenges remain nonetheless, including corruption, lack of transparency, poor customer service, excessive bureaucracy, political interference in the judiciary, lack of government capacity, communication difficulties and shortcomings in the rule of law and contract enforcement. North Macedonia ranks high - 17th place out of 190 economies - in the latest Doing Business report by the World Bank, though it lost seven positions compared to the previous edition. The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index provided by Transparency international puts North Macedonia at 87th place out of 180 economies (it was 111th in the previous edition).

 
 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 446230606
FDI Stock (million USD) 6,4087,1817,248
Number of Greenfield Investments* 10319
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2371361,031

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in North Macedonia

Strong Points
The country's key advantages in terms of attracting FDI include:

- Low labour costs and high-quality workmanship;
- Stable democracy;
- Fast and uncomplicated procedures to create an enterprise;
- FDI-friendly governement policies;
- the country's integration into the German production chain.
Weak Points
The country's hurdles to investment are :

- High structural unemployment and training deficit;
- Important size of informal economy;
- Inadequate transport infrastructure;
- Significant indebtedness of the private sector (93% of GDP at the end of 2014);
- Conflicting political landscape;
- Tensions between the Slavic majority and the Albanian minority.

Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
North Macedonia is an open and business friendly country, which ranks on the 11th spot in the 2018 Doing Business Report of the World Bank which evaluates the ease of doing business in 190 countries.

The North Macedonian Constitution stipulates that foreign persons (legal entities, individuals or civil partnerships registered in a foreign country) must enjoy equal rights with local persons when conducting economic activities in North Macedonia except where otherwise provided by the law (“national treatment”). This principle covers the entire range of economic and legal forms used for business activity.

The North Macedonia has a flat tax rate of 10% for corporate and personal income tax purposes. Investors are eligible for reduction in the profit tax base by the amount of prior profit reinvested in tangible assets (such as real estate, facilities and equipment) and intangible assets (such as computer software and patents) used for expanding the business activities of the entity.

The Law on Technological Industrial Development Zones provides for a special tax treatment for any investor who invests in the appointed zones.

The legal framework also includes the One-Stop-Shop system that aims to tackle some of the administrative barriers of entry into the business life in North Macedonia. According to the Law of the One-Stop-Shop system, all types of trade companies are registered within 4 hours of submission. Another important feature of the One-Stop-Shop is the electronic distribution service that allows any potential investor or third party to obtain complete electronic information about the operations of companies in the country.

To learn more about the goverment measures to encourage FDI in North Macedonia, please visit Invest in North Macedonia website.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By North Macedonia
North Macedonia has signed numerous bilateral conventions on FDI. You may see them on the policy investment hub website.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
The current Company Law is effective since 2004. The law defines five forms of companies: General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Joint Stock Company and Limited Partnership by Shares.

To learn more please visit Invest in North Macedonia website.

Acquisition of Holdings
A 100% foreign ownership is possible.
Obligation to Declare
New company must register at the Central Registery and then to the VAT at the Public Revenue Office. More information may be found in the 2018 Report on Doing Business of the World Bank and in KPMG Investment Guide to North Macedonia.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
E-Registration Portal
Public Revenue Office website
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Some sectors require specific permits and licenses (communication and energy sector for instance), to find out more you may visit the Invest In North Macedonia website.

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Latest Update: November 2022