Macedonia has been doing far better than its debt-ridden neighbors in the eurozone due to its stable economy, making the nation a safe haven for investment, a visiting minister says.
“We are one of the few countries that have managed to keep our macroeconomics parameters stable over the past few years. For example, we have been extremely conservative in deficit spending,” Macedonian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Poposki said at the offices of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Macedonia’s annual budget deficit was 2.5 percent for 2012 with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 29 percent, Poposki said. Prudent macroeconomic policies have fostered a favorable investment climate in Macedonia, which could serve as an export gateway for Indonesia to Europe, he added.
“This is why we are rather fortunate that, in terms of the European crisis, we are still able to attract major companies to invest in Macedonia,” Poposki said.
Although Macedonia has a relatively small population of 2.1 million citizens, many foreign investors have established production hubs in Macedonia to tap Europe’s large export market.
“The market is not only local, because very few of the products are sold in Macedonia itself,” Poposki said, identifying the pharmaceutical, agriculture, information technology and automotive parts industries as potentially the most lucrative sectors for Indonesian investors.
Macedonia, a landlocked country in southern Europe and the birthplace of Alexander the Great, was established in 1991 after a referendum endorsing independence from then Yugoslavia.
Trade volume between Indonesia and Macedonia was valued at US$110 million last year, almost all of which comprised Indonesian exports of coffee, coconut, cinnamon, palm oil, rubber and paper.
Kadin chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto said that Macedonia was a very promising investment destination for Indonesian executives wanting to expand into the European market. “The situation in Macedonia is very good, if you consider the current situation in Europe,” Suryo said.
“Maybe for Indonesian investors we could look Macedonia as a hub, or stepping stone to the European market — you can look at Europe’s bigger market of 650 million citizens.” (sat)