Pharmacy, construction, tourism, agriculture and wine industry are areas of high business interest in commercial relations between Macedonia and the Russian Federation. Established a decade ago with the goal of renewing economic ties between both countries, the Macedonian-Russian Chamber of Commerce is led by Dejan Beshliev, Executive Director, who takes pride in the fact that its membership consists of 147 companies from various business and industry sectors.
European Times: What are the primary goals of your organisation?
Dejan Beshliev: The chamber has several main objectives, which all come under the overall mission of renewing relations with the Russian Federation. These are economic goals above all, aimed at improving the response to the needs of Russian business people in offering high-quality products and their placement on the Russian market. The absolute peak in our trade with the Russian market was 25 years ago when the trade exchange reached US$1 billion with an equal trade balance of approximately US$500 million from each side. Currently, our largest exports to Russia are agricultural products and pharmaceutics, while the most significant imports and investments from Russia are in the sectors of oil, gas and mining. The motives for our establishment have been to create new bridges of collaboration, new contacts and new opportunities. Therefore, we keep our business people informed about the rules and regulations of the Russian market and serve as contact point for Russian companies when they are looking for opportunities in our market, in collaboration with the Macedonian government, whose primary objective is to attract foreign direct investments and know-how.
European Times: Which companies have the honour to be part of your organisation? Which are the most attractive business potentials of the bilateral economic cooperation on which you are working?
Dejan Beshliev: The broad spectre of sectors from which the companies come is a strong foundation for the accelerating collaboration. Whether it is manufacturing, energy, service industries, pharmacy, construction, tourism, agriculture or wine industry we have members who are successfully doing business with their Russian counterparts. We are helping them to find partners who would buy not only their products but would also build long lasting business relations and strategic partnerships. In the past ten years, Russian companies became more active in their cooperation with their Macedonian counterparts, although there is a lot of space for improvement. Gross investments from Russia to Macedonia have surpassed the amount of US$400 million. Macedonia has no political restrictions on trade with Russia, while our free trade agreements EU, EFTA and CEFTA countries, plus Turkey and Ukraine provide investors with access to over 650 million customers. These facts point us to the conclusion that there are vast business opportunities which are waiting to be exploited.