Today, 14th December 2020, the Economic Chamber of Macedonia organized a press conference at the border crossing point on the "Priority Steps" to stimulate economic activity and export growth aimed at further promotion of the working material under the motto "For a stronger Macedonian economy in the post-covid 19 period".

In his statement to the media, Customs Director General Tanasovski said that the economy is currently facing serious challenges related to the health crisis, and the Customs Administration, as a proven partner to the business community has made efforts to facilitate the export for the economic operators and enable uninterrupted transit of goods.

He pointed out some key foreign trade statistics in the past 11 months of this year. According to the data available to the Customs Administration, the total import during the past 11 months has dropped by 7% compared to the same period last year, while the export has dropped by 11%. Considering the extremely bad economic situation in the world, caused by the global pandemic, these results are not so bad and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Customs Administration have been making exceptional efforts.  Supporting the export companies in this crisis was and will remain our highest priority in order to support the economy to the maximum and thus reduce the consequences for the Macedonian economy.

He gave a short presentation to the audience about the activities that have already been realized or should be realized, aimed at improvement of the economic conditions for business.

One of the main priorities of the Customs Administration in the past period was the establishment of the so-called green corridors in April 2020 to ensure uninterrupted operation of all border crossings 24 hours, 7 days a week and uninterrupted operation of the international supply chains. Together with the Green Corridors, a priority list of goods for export was introduced, including fresh agricultural and food products, medical equipment and medicines, and vital foodstuffs.  

Based on the positive experiences and achieved expectations, not only of the customs services, but of all stakeholders involved in international trade, it was concluded at the last CEFTA Subcommittee meeting that the introduced green corridors should continue to function in the future and extend to the border crossings with the EU, and priority should be given to authorized economic operators and perishable goods.

The second significant achievement is the joint controls and the One-stop Shop. At this border crossing Tabanovce - Preshevo over than a year ago the One-Stop Shop Project was launched introducing joint border controls of goods and passengers between the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans recommend that the Western Balkan countries establish joint border controls in order to facilitate and speed up the export, import and transit of goods. The Republic of North Macedonia together with the Republic of Serbia are the first countries from the Western Balkans to establish a joint border control. With the establishment of the new way of working and the joint border control of the agancied of the two countries, Corridor 10 has become more attractive and efficient for export, import and transit of goods, and soon this is expected for Corridor 8, at the border crossing Kjafasan-Qaftane.

The third achievement is the reduction of customs duty rates for certain categories of raw materials that are key to the export industry. In that regard, prior to the amendment of the Law on Customs Tariff, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia adopted several regulations for autonomous reduction of the customs duty rate for raw materials for the meat and processing industry, as well as for the automotive industry. Director Tanososki emphasized that one of the key recommendations of the document presented today is to amend the Law on Customs Tariff, by reducing and making the of customs duty rates equal to  those of the European Union. Within the public-private partnership between the Government and the chambersof commerce, a procedure for revision of the Customs Tariff has been initiated, where the Customs Administration is actively involved. The novelties provided by the Law offer a number of innovative solutions, such as reduction of customs duty rates on raw materials intended for end use, reduction of customs duty rates, by making them equal to those in the EU. All these changes should provide a stronger economy and greater competitiveness of economic operators.

In cooperation with the business community, the Customs Administration, as the leading agency and main coordinator, recently started the implementation of the project for the New National Single Window System (NSW) in the country. The introduction of this system will integrate the national IT systems used in the Customs Administration, i.e. it will integrated the systems of other government institutions  providing a single point - a window for the use of services by economic operators. The system will be developed and implemented under the Goods Facilitation of Cross-Border Trade component of the Western Balkans Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, financed by a World Bank loan. Also, the development and implementation of this system is of national interest, and its use in facilitating the procedures for the business community and providing more effective controls will achieve mutual benefit.

The fourth major achievement in supporting the Macedonian economy are the new rules for origin of goods, which should provide the Macedonian companies with easier conditions for acquiring preferential Macedonian origin. The new revised or "transitional" preferential rules of origin of goods are simplified in terms of eliminating the cumulative conditions of the rules for many types of goods, simplifying the specific production rules, increasing the percentage of use of raw materials without origin, increasing the condition for tolerance of raw materials without originating from the existing 10% to 5%, introducing the application of full cumulation and introducing the possibility of reimbursement of paid duties on raw materials without origin when exporting to the EU. These transitional rules should enter into force in mid-2021 and give a new impetus to greater competitiveness of the Macedonian economy.

At the end, Director Tanasoski expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation with the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, the results of the implemented reforms through which the commitment and enthusiasm of the Customs Administration are confirmed thus meeting the expectations and needs of all users of our services. The daily challenges faced by the direct participants in the customs procedures during their work are a motive to continue the partnership with the business community, to work on increasing the trust between Customs and the other stakeholders, to develop strategies, procedures and methods for facilitating the flow of trade and take measures in line with the applicable lwas and regulations in the Republic of North Macedonia, in accordance with the legitimate needs of the business community.

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