Chambers conducted an assessment of the business environment in Macedonia

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Gretchen Birkle, Acting Country Representative for USAID Macedonia
“Strong cooperation between the public & private sector is important to create a business environment that will support and foster growth", said Gretchen Birkle
EPI CENTAR International

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February 12, 2019 - USAID’s Partnership for Better Business Regulation Project, implemented in partnership with the four main chambers of commerce in country, held a presentation of the annual assessment of the business environment in Macedonia for 2018. The annual survey has been conducted three years in a row and has reached a representative sample of Macedonia’s business sector. The findings will help chambers of commerce and policy makers better understand the current state of the business sector in Macedonia, specifically what are the most common challenges faced by companies in their daily operations.

“Strong cooperation between the public and private sector is important to create a business environment that will support and foster growth. A strong, vibrant small business community is essential to build the backbone of any economy and I call on everyone here to commit to prioritizing this important sector of society”,  said Gretchen Birkle, Acting Country Representative for USAID Macedonia. 

The results have shown that in comparison with the past two years the information related with the legal compliance have been gradually increasing among the companies. Results from 2018 also indicate a positive trend of 35% increase of the companies’ level of inclusion in the business regulation development, compared with 2016. Regarding the overall assessment of the national legislation, the companies indicated that the grey economy is one of the key issues that hinder the business sector’s growth in Macedonia. Addressing this issue would improve the business environment and help companies improve their operations. In addition, most of the respondents also mentioned that judicial reforms and macroeconomic stabilization are of utmost importance. However, in general the companies believe that in the past 3 year the country has increased its regional competitiveness with the other countries from the western Balkans.

The chambers’ advocacy efforts have already produced tangible results that are now benefiting Macedonia’s private sector. For example, the fines for small tax and customs misdemeanors have been reduced and the deadline for land privatization has been extended; the new Public Procurement Law, enacted two weeks ago, will increase transparency, allow for better quality, increase competition, and introduce better control in public procurements; the new Law on Internships and the new Law on Inspection Supervision, that were also drafted based on feedback from the private sector, are about to be enacted soon.

The chambers of commerce will further analyze and process the survey results in order to develop concrete policy proposals to improve the business climate and to facilitate better business management among companies. Then they will use the Public Private Dialogue Platform, a mechanism that meets on a regular basis to facilitate dialogue between key government and private sector representatives, in order to seek solutions for overcoming the identified issues that contribute to an unfavorable business environment.  During the first session of the Public Private Dialogue Committee in December of last year, the chambers presented 38 policy recommendations related to construction, urban planning, public procurement, tourism and waste management to the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and the relevant Ministers who are part of this mechanism. These recommendations are now being considered for future reforms.


The American people, through USAID, have invested more than $640 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. For more information visit and USAID’s Facebook page

USAID’s Partnership for Better Business Regulation Project is a four- year, $1.9 million activity that aims to streamline business regulations and assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in navigating the complex and often unfriendly business regulatory environment. The project is implemented by EPI CENTAR International in partnership with Economic Chamber of Macedonia, MASIT, Economic Chamber of North West Macedonia, and as of the second project year, the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce.