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With a well-established pharmaceutical industry, Macedonia is supplying primarily finished generic products to over 30 countries in the region and beyond. The country has a strong educational bias towards the medical and healthcare professions, with a surplus of qualified medical doctors and pharmacists emerging from the education system every year.
The salary levels of qualified medical staff are substantially lower than those of comparable staff in the EU, to the extent that medical tourism is constantly on the rise. The regulatory environment in Macedonia is highly supportive of new healthcare investments.
The Republic of Macedonia is a veritable treasury of culture and art, hosting numerous historical monuments throughout the country. The cultural heritage, combined with a temperate climate, beautiful landscape and unmatched hospitality, makes Macedonia an attractive area with great tourist ambitions to become a top destination for foreign visitors. As a continental country influenced by a Mediterranean climate, Macedonia has great potential for the development of both summer and winter tourism. The unpolluted air, soil and water create a unique milieu for eco-tourism, placing Macedonia on the top of offers by the world’s most popular eco-tourism operators. With over 1,000 churches and monasteries, as well as more than 4,200 archaeological sites, Macedonia is among the leaders in cultural tourism in Europe.
METALS AND METAL PRODUCTS
Investment attractiveness of the metal and metal products sector is related to its export potential. In 2006, the basic metals (mainly iron and steel) represented the largest export category. The sector is comprised of some 150 small and medium-sized enterprises, employs over 9,000 employees, and is almost entirely in foreign ownership. The main products include rolled sheet steel, aluminum bars, rods and profiles, ferrous alloys, seamed tubing and ferrous-nickel products, lead, zinc, copper, gold and silver.
Macedonia has a complex geological structure and a large number of ore deposits. Reserves of lead, zinc, copper-gold and chromium ores are being exploited in a number of locations. Lignite, marble, travertine and other decorative construction stones are widely available.
Macedonia has a substantial chemical industry with a well-developed capacity for the production of basic chemicals, synthetic fibers, polyvinyl chloride, as well as detergents, fertilizers, polyurethane foams and fibers. In addition to opportunities for green field FDI, existing capacities in chemical processing, including cosmetics products, have good growth potential for foreign investors.
Energy sector development is a priority in Macedonia, with 70% of the technically available hydro potential open for investment. Numerous investment opportunities exist and the Government encourages investment in both traditional and renewable energy projects.
Macedonia has a well-developed construction industry recognized internationally for its skilled personnel and use of modern technology, particularly in civil engineering and hydro construction. The country is a major supplier of construction labor to Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Russia.
TOBACCO AND CIGARETTES
The production of tobacco is based on cultivating oriental aromatic tobaccos with small leaves. Tobacco is the greatest contributor to the total export of the agricultural-food products, with an export value of approximately €72 million (2010). It is estimated that 42,620 households are engaged in tobacco production and this number has increased significantly over the last few years as a result of high state subsidies in the production of this crop.