With a long, rich tradition in clothing and textiles, this sector is the second largest export industry in Macedonia. The competitive export advantages include short delivery periods, flexibility of delivery size together with exceptional value for money. In addition to garments, there is manufacturing potential for cotton thread and fabric, wool yarn, fabric and knitted fabric. The country offers potential not only for new foreign direct investment, but also for outsourcing, strategic alliances and joint ventures with many local well established companies.

Textile Industry

Textile and clothing industry has a great contribution to the Macedonian economy. Clothing industry, today, is one of the locomotive sectors of the Macedonian economy in terms of industrial production, employments, and export earnings.

  • 17% of the industry’s GDP

  • 17% of total country exports

  • 35% of the total number of employees in the industry.

According to national Classification of Activity (NCA), Macedonian textile companies are divided in two groups:

  • Manufacturers of textile materials

  • Manufacturing of wearing apparel, dressing and dyeing of fur.

Spinning and fabric production account for 1.5% of industrial production, and ready-made products account for 11.32%.

Macedonian textile industry has a long tradition. Textile companies are located all over the country. Every large municipality has a company connected with the garment industry, but there are 11 large regions or areas:

  • 50% of the capacity is placed in the eastern part,

  • 30% of the capacity is placed in the central part and

  • 20% of the capacity is placed in the western part of Macedonia

Number of Employees

Macedonia is a small but open economy, market oriented and highly integrated into international trade of goods.

In that directions following steps have been made:

  • First from the countries in the region signed the Stabilization and association agreement with EN in 2011

  • Became a member of WTO in 2003

  • Signed multilateral and bilateral free trade agreement with the EFTA countries, CEFTA countries, Turkey and Ukraine.

Overall framework for development regional cooperation and established political and economic criteria for EU integration.

Business entities

The total number of production capacities – 800.

In terms of the number of employees and company size, the companies can be divided in 4 groups:

  1. More than 250 employees - 2.6% of the companies with 38.5% of the employees

  2. From 50 to 249 employees - 9.5% of the companies with 39.2% of the employees

  3. From 10 to 49 employees – 18.8% of the companies with 16.1% of the employees

  4. From 1 to 9 employees -68.9% of the companies with 6.2% of the employees

Number of employees by year Manufacture of textiles Manufacture of wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur TOTAL:
2006 5314 40384 45698
2007 5335 36063 41398
2008 5017 36898 41915
2009 3456 31548 35004
2010 2685 38459 41144
2011 2650 38850 41500
2012 5885 33147 39092
2013 2737 36611 39348
2014 4928 32913 37841

Source: State Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia, 2015


Advantages of Macedonian Textile and Clothing Industry

One of the biggest competitive advantages that the Macedonian textile industry possesses is its close proximity to Western Europe, a large and consumer market.

  • Good image of Macedonian producers, who have been present in the EU and US markets for decades and are known for their quality and professionalism.

  • High flexibility and readiness to adapt to the demands of foreign markets. Readiness to comply with changes that comes as a result of new trends in the world, punctual execution within agreed terms of delivery and readiness to adapt the shorter terms that come due to the product consumption cycles that become shorter and shorter.

  • Exceptional relation between product quality and price. This is a result of highly qualified personnel with a long tradition of working in the textile industry, as well as of relatively low personnel costs.

  • Good and modern equipment of the factories, following world trends in developing textile machines and production technologies. In addition to modern textile equipment, more and more companies invest in computer technologies (CAD/CAM system, plotters etc.) that provide product models that meet the demands of buyers and can be used as a perfect training tool for introducing own designs.

  • Relative closeness to EU-markets and traditionally good transportation and logistics networks. Most of the big European transportation companies have privately-owned vehicles and warehouses located in Macedonia.

  • Stable macroeconomic condition.

Export of Textile Products (€ M)

The garment industry in Macedonia exports mainly to EU countries. 93% of the production is organized by the CM or CMT (Cut, Make& Trim) system for foreign markets. Full production and own brand production is partly exported and the rest is placed in the domestic market.

The competitive export advantages of the Macedonian apparel industry are:

  • Short period from orders to delivery

  • Capability to produce small orders at the same prices as big orders

  • Quality of performance

  • Good transport and logistics services.

Export of textile product by year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Manufacture of textiles 45.6 54.1 48.6 19.56 75.5 90.3
Manufacture of wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur 411.51 418.9 472.7 508.16 537.6 668
TOTAL: 457.11 473.00 521.3 527.72 613.1 758.3

In general apparel industry has a relatively simple, close to linear, value chain. The amount of value added, by segment of the value chain depends on the complexity of the garment product. The cost of labor in Macedonia is € 0.07 per minute, excluding transport costs. This amount is among the lowest in Europe and worldwide.


CM price


CM price













Italy (North)




Italy (South)