By Bahattin Gonultas
ANKARA (AA) - Macedonia's door is always open to Turkish businesses, which can invest tax-free for 10 years, the country’s prime minister said late Sunday.
Zoran Zaev said he hopes to more than double the bilateral trade volume from $475 million to $1 billion, at a business dinner hosted by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) in the capital Ankara.
Last year, Turkey's exports to Macedonia totaled $360.6 billion and imports $101.6 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Macedonia has several investment zones with up to 10-year tax holidays for corporate profits, employment income, VAT, customs duties and others, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Zaev added: "We also cover some personnel costs. We invite, as the prime minister, ministers, and parliamentarians, Turkish businesspeople for collaboration."
Macedonia's free trade zone can be a gateway to Europe for Turkish businesspeople, he stressed, adding:
"The area around Macedonia has a high potential, and there are opportunities especially in agriculture, construction, and energy."
He also said that all companies that invest in Macedonia are seen as Macedonian firms.
Around 100 Turkish businesspeople have investments worth €1.2 billion ($1.47 billion) in Macedonia, said Faik Yavuz, a member of TOBB's board.
He underlined that a number of Turkish entrepreneurs are doing feasibility studies on investing in the country.
Reworking of the 2000 free trade agreement between Macedonia and Turkey is expected, he stressed, adding:
"We expect the Macedonian prime minister's support. We will give all support to developing Macedonia."
* Gokhan Ergocun contributed to this story.