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NL Chamber Newsletter 2013 Q1


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9 pages of Dutch-Macedonian business news with articles on a.o. a chair factory, banking, agricultural education, fashion

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NL Chamber Newsletter 2013 Q1

  1. 1. newsletter MARCH 2013 c/o Netherlands Embassy Leninova 69-71 1000 Skopje Republic of Macedonia e: w: NL Chamber was established in January 2012 as official ­ Dutch-Macedonian Chamber of Commerce by 50 Macedonian companies, according to the Macedo­ ian Law on Chambers of n Commerce. One third of these companies is partly or fully Dutch owned. Objective of NL Chamber is to promote and support successful business relations between Dutch and Macedonian companies. events First Dies Natalis Second General Assembly projects Banking 4 Business: modern efficient procedures network Agricultural education from CAH-Vilentum on the Balkans members Ambassador Schuurman visited chair factory DIK Fagus Pruning of vines at Sveti Trifun Holland Plant Factory new Dutch venture in Macedonia Linea launches Summer Collection 2013 service Business partner background check statistics Decreasing deficit netherlands embassy Dutch support still available for Macedonian companies short Training Management Agricultural Cooperatives Emigration Fair Agenda Sponsors of Foundation NL Chamber: photo: NL Chamber Dutch-Macedonian Chamber of Commerce 1
  2. 2. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 events First Dies Natalis NL Chamber celebrated its first birthday with a networking event at the Wine Cellar of Skovin in Skopje. On Friday 18.01.2013 it was exactly one year ago that fifty Macedonian ­ companies esta­ blished the Dutch-­ acedonian M Chamber of Commerce. NL Chamber member Skovin Winery hosted this first “Dies Natalis” at the Wine Cellar in Skopje. The success of NL Chamber heavily depends on close relations with members and stakeholders and this celebration o ­ffered an excellent opportu­ nity to catch up, exchange ideas and establish new rela­ tions. events Second General Assembly The second General Assembly of the members of NL Chamber took place on 25 March at the Headquarters of Pivara Skopje. Having celebrated the first Dies Natalis, it was time to review the past year and to plan next steps in the development of NL Chamber at the annual Gene­ ral Assembly that took place on 25 March at the headquarters of Pivara Skopje. Being a part of Dutch Heineken, Pivara Skopje is not only a member, but also sponsor to the Foundation NL Chamber. The former Commercial Direc­ tor for Heineken at Pivara Skopje, Diederik Kalff, was a ­ctively involved in planning and structuring NL Chamber and was elected first Presi- dent. Upon his departure, the Board appointed his successor at Pivara, Arjen Reijnierse, as interim President. At the Gene­ Assembly Reijnierse ral was elected unanimously as president of NL Chamber. After a review of the activities of the first year and an overview of the plans for the coming year, the members where invited to a tour through the brewery, followed by a cocktail and buffet. photos: NL Chamber sponsor 2
  3. 3. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 projects Banking 4 Business: modern efficient procedures Macedonia is ranking very high on international ease of doing business lists. However, old-fashioned and increasingly regulated banking procedures form a major obstacle for efficient business operations which is damaging the potential and competitiveness of the Macedonian economy. Numerous documents, all to be filled out with more or less the same data. Multiple copies, all to be signed and stamped. Original invoices and ­ ontracts, c for the bank to approve the receipt of foreign currency. ­ Suffocating requirements due to verification obligations that in any modern economy are strictly the domain of the bookkeeper and in the end the tax authorities. That is banking in the 21st century in Macedonia. 26 signatures, 20 stamps An illustrative example is the application for a business cre­ dit card of the Visa and Master brands. Obtaining a business credit card requires 8 documents in 2 to 4 copies, piling up to 49 pages with 26 signatures and 20 stamps. ­ lthough A also a recent trade register extract and a full set of financial statements from the bookkeeping department has to be provided, the bank still requires a permanent deposit of the full amount of the desired credit limit as well as 12 (twelve!) signed blanc transfer orders and a fancy check called “menica” which needs to be bought, stamped and signed at three designated spots. That is more than enough to scare away any foreign investor, but it is common practice in Macedonia. business climate Macedonia currently ranks 23rd on the World Bank’s D ­ oing Business ranking. The Netherlands is behind at 31. Obviously, banking is something a foreign investor has to experience in practice. More­ over, domestic companies take this situation for “normal”, while wasting time, money and nerves on superfluous regulations. Banking 4 Business Since an adequate business climate enables companies to grow, create jobs and contri­ bute to the development of the local economy, NL Chamber decided to launch the project Banking 4 Business in Autumn 2012 with the objective to cut red tape and improve the ease of banking in Macedonia. The principles for these improvements are the following: • avoid providing the same data multiple times • focus on single-stamp and single signature procedures • a bank is not a bookkeeper nor a tax inspector: collec­ ting invoices and contracts matching with international money transfers is none of their business • collecting endless rows of documents for security reasons is counter-productive: the common practice to take a fresh copy of identy papers at every single occasion proves that any important document becomes a needle in a haystack in the bank’s archives, which is in fact very insecure Meanwhile, all laws and regulations that deal with opera­ ting a business bank account and international payments have been analysed. In the c ­ oming months easy to implement measures for relieving the administrative burdens will be defined. network Agricultural education from CAH-Vilentum on the Balkans CAH develops agricultural training programmes in Mace­ donia. NL Chamber went to Dronten to visit their brand new building: a modern greenhouse, turned into state-of-the art vocational training centre! See: photo: NL Chamber The University of Applied Science CAH Vilentum in Dronten and Almere is specialized in agriculture and develops EU-funded training programmes on the Balkans 3
  4. 4. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 Sponsors of Foundation NL Chamber 4
  5. 5. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 members Ambassador Schuurman visited chair factory DIK Fagus Every week a full truck of upholstered wooden chairs leaves Pehcevo in eastern Mace­ donia to the Netherlands. DIK Fagus receives the tree-trunks straight from state enterprise Macedonian Forests supplied by the client. ­ On Friday 21.12.2013 Dutch Ambassador Marriët Schuurman travelled to Pehcevo in eastern Macedonia to visit the factory for wooden upholstered chairs Wood Industry Combinate Fagus, or DIK Fagus in short. Every week five truckloads of chairs leave the factory in Pehcevo, of which one has the Netherlands as final destination. That was a good reason for Ambassador Schuurman to pay a visit to DIK Fagus. The factory, a former state company, was bought in 2005 by the company Mebel DOO in Stip, Macedonia. Mebel produces wooden furniture, but also window frames and doors. The factory for upholstered chairs has a capacity of 15,000 chairs per month and employs 200 people. All tree-trunks are supplied by the state enterprise Macedonian Forests, whereas fabrics and leather are usually CEO Petre Jordev and Dutch A ­ mbassador Marriët Schuurman Finished product, waiting for final inspection and packaging ERP-system “We have recently purchased a former textile factory in nearby Berovo in order to increase our capacity,” says CEO Petre Jordev. “Currently we are inves­ing in an ERP-system to t monitor every step of the production process and keep realtime track of the order flow.” photos: NL Chamber 5
  6. 6. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 members Pruning of vines at Sveti Trifun At Sveti Trifun the wine sector celebrates the official start of the pruning of the vines. Prayers for protection of the vines at Popova Kula Winery Lazar Petrov of Popova W ­ inery pruning the vines. Kula For wine lovers, February 14th is not only the day of Saint Valentine, but also Saint Trifun day. Sveti Trifun is the guardian of the wine growers and the day marks the official start of the pruning of the vines. For Sveti Trifun Macedonian wineries organize a celebration that starts with the traditional pruning of the vines by a priest, followed by the degustation of their latest wines as the earliest result of last year’s harvest. These wineries are active members of NL Chamber: Popova Kula, Demir Kapija Skovin, Skopje Stobi, Gradsko Tikveš, Kavadarci Celebration at the temporarily extended restaurant at Stobi Winery members Holland Plant Factory new Dutch venture in Macedonia The best promotion for doing business in Macedonia are the success stories of the pioneers, buzzing around in your network: also Robert van de Zanden came to Macedonia. our ideas,” says Robert while he shows us his workshop. double GPS “Whatever machine we drive out into fields, it’s all equiped with ­ ouble GPS. We put the d plants in raised beds in dead straight lines. Afterwards, weeding can be done quickly and mechanically, because with double GPS we know ­ ithin a w margin of only 2 centi­ etres m exactly where the plants are. Similarly, spraying against d ­ iseases can be targeted very precisely and thus minimizing the use of pesticides.” In Macedonia Robert is tes­ing t alternative crops, following ­ he t latest market developments. photos: NL Chamber Inspired by the stories of his business relations, Robert van de Zanden stepped into a new venture with Holland Plant Factory in Macedonia. Robert is the type of entrepreneur that is always looking for a new challenge, which became very clear at the visit to his Dutch company, strawberry plants grower Aardbei Extra. “We never use a machine just like we bought it. We always have some engineering to do, to fully adapt the equipment to 6
  7. 7. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 members Linea launches Summer Collection 2013 Fashion factory Linea from Stip is one of the most active members of NL Chamber, a much respected participant in every event. past, but also beautiful: collection summer 2012 photos: Linea Mr Stamen Trajanov started Linea in 1995. Meanwhile both his daughter, fashion designer Slavica Basarovska and his son Petar Trajanov started working in the company after finishing university in Milan, Italy. Unlike the vast majority of garment factories in Macedonia, Linea is not only active with CMT-production for foreign fashion houses, but also has its own collection of light ladies’ wear for which they source the ­abrics through the worldf known fairs in Paris. Linea has four shops in Skopje, one in Stip and one in Kavadarci. 7
  8. 8. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 service Business partner background check Anyone who would like to have background information on a potential Dutch client or supplier, can order a full trade register extract through NL Chamber, translated from Dutch into Macedonian. Members receive a discount. Prior to getting into business and accepting certain payment conditions, it is sometimes wise to get the full picture on your business relation. For those o ­ccasions NL Chamber offers full extracts from the Dutch trade register, translated from Dutch into Macedonian. payment upon delivery “We received a large order from a Dutch client, with the request to pay upon delivery. The background check of NL Chamber with the trade register extracts gave us firm information about the clients background and business activities, helping us in our decision­ aking process. m An agreement was signed, and the client paid upon delivery,” says Novica Sotarovski, CEO of printing house Bato & Divajn. Also Zavar and Vima Fashion ­ have already used this service. discount for members Prices depend on the charges of the Dutch trade register, related to the availability of information, but range from 1,000 to 2,500 MKD. Members receive a discount up to 50%. statistics The deficit in trade value of goods of Macedonia with the Netherlands is constantly decreasing. In 2012 the deficit was with 20.6 million EUR 21% smaller than in 2011. In 2011 the deficit shrank with 34%, since the Macedonian exports grew more than the imports. source: Statistics Netherlands illustrations: NL Chamber Decreasing deficit 8
  9. 9. newsletter no. 1 / March 2013 netherlands embassy Dutch support still available for Macedonian companies The Dutch government continues to invest in private sector development through the programmes MMF, PSI and PUM. The so-called Private Sector Development Instruments of the Dutch government, better know as the programmes abbreviated as MMF, PSI and PUM are still available to Mace­ donian companies. See the contact details for each of these programmes elsewhere on this page. new form matchmaking NL ­ Agency, an organization of the Dutch Minis­ry of Ecot nomic ­ Affairs, manages the MatchMaking Faci­ lity (MMF) for finding business partners in the Netherlands and the wellknown PSI programme for support of joint investments. For matchmaking a new application form is available at NL Agency: second tender investments Twice a year NL Agency opens a tender for receiving investment proposals under the PSI programme. The Dutch partner in the investment plan, can apply for a 50% grant up short Training Management Agricultural Cooperatives The Federation of Farmers of Macedonia (FFRM) invites farmers to apply for a training on management of agricultural cooperatives. The training lasts two weeks and will take place in autumn 2013, while the selection procedure of 16 participants will take place during summer. The Dutch company NL Agency Ministry of Economic Affairs Prinses Beatrixlaan 2 PO Box 93114 2509 AC THE HAGUE The Netherlands MMF - MatchMaking Facility t: +31 88 6028110 f: +31 88 6029026 e: w: PSI - Private Sector Investment t: +31 88 6028513 f: +31 88 6029026 e: w: Netherlands Embassy Mr Jane Kjuka Economy and Trade Officer t: +389 2 3109250 e: to 750,000 EUR. The closing date for the second PSI-tender of 2013 is 26.08.2013. For more information on procedure and requirements please refer to NL Agency or contact the Embassy (see blue box). Horti-Match is organizing this training under the Leonardo life-long learning programme of the European Commission. For application see: Emigration Fair PUM - Netherlands Senior Experts t: +31 70 3490555 f: +31 70 3490590 e: w: local representatives Mrs Beti Dejanova t: +389 2 3125071 m: +389 70 641641 e: Mr Boris Kareski t: +389 2 3239255 f: +389 78 355362 e: PUM Netherlands Senior Experts offers a wide range of experts who can assist Macedonian companies free of charge. Benificiaries are only required to arrange for accomodation, food and local transport. For more information and application, please visit ­, w or contact the local repre­ sentatives (contact details in the yellow box above). Agenda 30.04 Queen’s Day Dinner restaurant Den i Nokj, Skopje, 17h00 28.05 World Private Label fair 29.05 World Private Label fair The annual Emigration Fair in Houten, the Netherlands since this year has an agriculture section, especially focusing on emigration of agricultural entrepreneurs looking for space for development abroad. source: 9