Todays Date
May 19, 2022

Macedonia on the Balkans bottom by exports

We export seven times less than Slovenia and twice less than Bulgaria

Dobre Mitrov, afarmer from Kochani is this year preparing to sell his lambs for Easter holidays. He grows about 100 sheep and expects to sell more than 120 lambs.

“Every year I sell the lambs before Easter. Traders come, middlemen, buyers who purchase them, and whether they take them to Greece, Saudi Arabia or Europe I do not know, and I do not care”, says Mitrov.

They are not interested where the efforts of these farmers will be consumed, they say, it is traders’ responsibility, who are very cautious in placing and mostly directed towards domestic market where it is safest for them.

Igor Mitrevski, merchant and owner of the agricultural products trade company “Eurokost” from Prespa says that placing the products on foreign markets is much less certain than the domestic.

“I have been working with purchase of agricultural products for 6 months, and for a beginner like me, domestic market is much more reliable”, says Mitrevski and adds that if someone does not pay in this country he can send them to enforcement agent to immediately collect the money. But to sue in the international court it will cost tens and hundreds of thousands of Euros, that Mitrevski does not have.

These are some of the reasons that discourage domestic companies from exporting to foreign markets. Last year the country exported goods worth 4 billion dollars or 1,900 dollars per capita, placing it at the very bottom of the Balkans and Europe.

Most exports oriented are Slovenians, 13,000 dollars, followed by Bulgaria with 4,000 dollars per capita, Greece 2,800, Croatia 2,700, Macedonia and Serbia with 1,900 dollars per capita.

A third of the country’s export is unproductive

One-third of exports in the country are of apparel sewn in the country and the export of catalysts by the company Johnson Matthey.

According to economists this is a very bad situation as in the country, except for cheap labor, we do not have any input in these products.

“The three companies, Bunardzik two Johnson Controls and Johnson Matthey in and the second company of Johnson Controls in the Shtip zone, have dramatically increased exports in the past 3-4 years. From the exports made by these companies, Macedonia as a country has almost no effect. They import everything from their mother companies, here they use only the labor force, and again go outside Macedonia without any added value”, says Stojce Samardziski, economic analyst from Shtip.

He adds that the export of companies operating in these zones and confections should be separated from the rest of the export in the country.

Last year, as exports of loan production and catalysts, goods worth approximately 1.5 billion dollars crossed the state border.

If we really take out these products from the Macedonian export, as suggested by Samardziski, then the country would have exports of about $ 1,100 per capita which place the country in the “African company” together with Swaziland having 1,140 dollars per capita and Mauritania with 800 dollars per capita.

Table 1: Export per capita in 2013 (in U.S. dollars)


Export per capita

Total export



28 billion



27.9 billion



30 billion



12 billion



13,4 billion



4 billion

Source: CIA

Editor: Tamara Causidis