The Directorate for Technological Industrial Development Zones (TIDZ) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation today in Skopje, the purpose of which is to facilitate the entry of Japanese companies into the country, as well as to establish closer cooperation between Macedonian and Japanese companies, especially in the area of joint projects in construction and innovation.

“This is the beginning of a very important collaboration. I expect that in the coming days the Japanese delegation, which includes representatives of large Japanese companies, will recognize the potential for cooperation. It is particularly important that one of the pillars of the Memorandum that we signed today is the possibility of joint cooperation of Macedonian and Japanese companies in projects for the reconstruction of Ukraine. What we had the opportunity to understand during our visit to Japan this summer is that there is a serious interest, especially from the big Japanese banks, to finance these projects that we expect will soon happen after the end of the conflict, so one of the focuses of the visit is exactly that – a conversation between the Macedonian and Japanese companies, how to use our experience and our closeness to these markets and our companies, together with the Japanese companies, get a part of that cake of reconstruction”, said the director of the Directorate of TIDZ, Jovan Despotovski.

“The idea of this visit was to enable Japanese companies to get acquainted with the mentality in North Macedonia, business activities and to establish business connections between Japanese and Macedonian companies. In the last few years, JETRO has been working intensively on establishing business connections, especially in the area of innovation. We hope that this visit will establish a closer relationship between Japanese and startup companies in North Macedonia”, said the director of JETRO from Vienna, Tatsuo Kamino.

The vice prime minister in charge of economic affairs and investments, Fatmir Bytyqi, who also presented the investment opportunities in the country, emphasized the importance of Japan as our strategic partner.

“Today is a step forward in advancing our bilateral relations with Japan, as representatives of leading Japanese companies have come to get to know our country and the opportunities for the development of their businesses that our country offers. Over the past three decades, our countries have maintained friendly relations, but we want to overcome geographical distance and create stronger economic ties. “We presented the investment opportunities that we offer in accordance with the legal regulations, from financial support for job creation and capital investments to support for research and development,” said Bytyqi.

TIDZ hosts the Japanese delegation led by the Director General of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Takehiko Matsuo and the Director of JETRO from Vienna, Tatsuo Kamino, and which includes representatives from 11 well-known Japanese companies. In the next three days, they will have meetings with students from FINKI, with representatives of old companies that are part of the programs of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, as well as with representatives of large companies that are part of the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia.

The General Director of METI, Matsuo emphasized that “Japan is working to strengthen bilateral relations within the framework of the Cooperation Initiative for the Western Balkans, initiated by former Prime Minister Abe. The visit of the business delegation sees “a big step towards further strengthening of economic relations between the two countries.”

“The importance of North Macedonia is growing significantly. While labor shortages are becoming more acute in Central and Eastern Europe, North Macedonia has an abundance of quality human resources. It also has excellent access to the vast EU market and transport access to other European countries where supply chain centers are already located. Above all, North Macedonia is a “reliable partner” with which we share fundamental values”, stressed Matsuo.

And the Japanese ambassador to the country, Kazuya Otsuka, emphasized that it is very important for the two countries to advance economic cooperation and sees great potential, especially with such visits where Japanese companies can get to know directly the investment opportunities offered by the country.

The memorandum is signed in the month when the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and North Macedonia is marked.