Macedonia (correctly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia due to a dispute with Greece over its name) is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. The country has been independent since 1991, and since December 2005 has been a candidate to join the EU.

It is a small country with around 2m inhabitants, but despite steady economic growth is still one of the poorest countries in Europe. GDP per capita is around US$9,000 - less than one-third of the EU's. Unemployment is above 30%.

Macedonia has undergone considerable economic reform since its independence; it has been a WTO member since 2003; and has bilateral free trade agreements with EFTA, CEFTA, Ukraine and Turkey. Textiles (mainly garments) are Macedonia's main export product, accounting for around one-quarter of total exports.

  • Industry location: According to 2005 statistics, the city of Stip (5,610 employees in textiles and apparel) was the leading centre, followed by the capital Skopje (3,851) and the city of Tetovo (3,563).
  • Employment: Despite declining during the recent economic crisis, textiles and apparel still represents 36% of total manufacturing employment. In the first quarter of 2010, the number of workers were:
    Textiles: 1,642
    Apparel: 42,963
    Textiles & Apparel: 44,605
  • Production costs: Macedonian CM (cut make) producers handle a competitive standard minute cost. However, average productivity is lower (at around 60% of German productivity) than in some competing countries: Romania (70%), Bulgaria and Serbia (65%).
  • Standard minute cost in Euro (without transport costs):
    Macedonia: EUR0.06-0.08
    Albania: EUR0.07-0.07
    Bulgaria: EUR0.08-0.09
    Romania: EUR0.08-0.09
    Bosnia: EUR0.08-0.09
    Serbia: EUR0.09-0.10
    Egypt: EUR0.06-0.09
    Tunisia: EUR0.09-0.10
    Morocco: EUR0.09-0.10
  • Garment exports:
    Macedonian garment exports reached a peak of EUR921m in 2007, and recovery from the global economic crisis has been slow. Traditionally more than 80% of Macedonia's textile exports are to EU markets. Germany is the main market (42.4% in 2009), followed by Greece, the Netherlands and Italy.

    2006: EUR530m (28% of total exports)
    2007: EUR921m (38% of total exports)
    2008: EUR868m (32% of total exports)
    2009: EUR729m (38% of total exports)
    Jan-March 2010: EUR107m (22% of total exports)
  • Garment exports to EU27 (first half of 2007-2010): In the first half of 2010, Macedonia ranked 14th in the list of the EU27's leading garment suppliers, ahead of Croatia (19) and Ukraine (20).

    2007: EUR217.7m (0.8% of total EU27 garment imports)
    2008: EUR236.8m (0.9% of total EU27 garment imports)
    2009: EUR209.0m (0.7% of total EU27 garment imports)
    2010: EUR197.4m (0.7% of total EU27 garment imports)
  • Macedonian imports of textiles and apparel: Due to the lack of domestic fabric production, Macedonia is dependent on textile imports, mainly from the EU and Turkey. Imported apparel consists partly of Western branded clothing and cheap ready-to-wear products.
  • Total imports of textiles and apparel:
    2005: 313.5 (12.0% of total imports)
    2006: 320.7 (10.7% of total imports)
    2007: 364.9 (9.6% of total imports)
    2008: 375.2 (8.0% of total imports)
    2009: 351.2 (9.1% of total imports)
  • Foreign Direct Investment in textiles and apparel:
    2005: EUR5.14m
    2006: EUR3.66m
    2007: EUR7.26m
    2008: -
    2009: EUR0.95m
    Note: data for 2008 is only available at aggregate level.

Sources: GTZ, Textile Trade Association of Macedonia, TEXAAS Consulting

By Jozef De Coster.