Macedonia reduces industry customs duties


Reduced custom rates aim to improve industry conditions in the country.

By Aleksandar Pavlevski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 31/12/12


Tariffs will decrease on materials used in the metal industry. [AFP]

Beginning Tuesday (January 1st), Macedonia will abolish or reduce tariff rates for materials used in several industry sectors in the country.

The materials include those used to make car parts, polyethylene foils, machine tools, railway freight car wagons and buses. The measure is being implemented in direct support of five branches of economy, which will increase competition of Macedonian products in foreign markets.

Through significant reduction and abolishment of tariff rates, the government will directly help several, primarily export, sectors that are facing challenges in the global economic crisis.

"The abolishment of tariff rates for these goods has a purpose to improve conditions for management of domestic producers, development of industry and increased import in foreign markets," Zoran Stavreski, Macedonia finance minister, said.

"This measure will bring benefits in the long term, and the domestic economy will notice general rapid growth, especially in the metal industry, which is mainly export-oriented," Vlatko Panaceski, a controller for Macedonian metal-processing factory Metalika, told SETimes.

Positive effects of the reduction of customs duties are also expected by the economic chambers in the country which hope to save 5 to 10 percent of its funds used to supply raw materials due to the lower prices on imported goods.

"This will help manufacturers of metal products and the entire metal-processing industry, as well as small businesses that mainly produce metal products," the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce told SETimes.

There will be reduction of customs duties for the transportation sector as well.

Customs duties on buses and minibuses will be cut by 5 to 10 percent. The 4 percent customs duties on wagons and tanks will also be abolished.

"Cheaper transportation of goods and passengers implies cheaper services and products in markets. This will be regulated with sale and profit growth for our companies," Macedonian Railways said in a statement.

The 6 percent tariff rates for polyethylene foils, which are used in the foodstuff and graphic industries and in copy machines, will be abolished.

Upon taking the action, the government will meet the requirements of companies that requested these reductions in negotiations with the ministers of economy and finance.

"These measures are good for the economy since they mean less [of a] burden for companies," Senoj Hadzimustafa, a professor at South East European University in Tetovo, told SETimes.

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This action is expected to provide positive results for the entire economy in the long run, although in the beginning a lack of funds in the budgets will be felt due to the lost custom fees.

This shortage of funds is planned in the budget, customs officials said.

The reduction of customs duties will result in a roughly 480,000 euro shortfall in annual fiscal implications on the state budget.

"This is projected for the budget for next year. All this should contribute to the increase and improvement of the economic activity in Macedonia," Vanco Kargov, customs director, told SETimes.

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