FYROM and Greece have good relations in the domain of commerce, but businesses say that the 25 year old contest on the name issue and the political relations between the two countries, act as an obstacle in boosting cooperation in several fields.
Sotir Ampov, head of the Chamber of Industry says that trade and investments are at the focus of businesses on both sides of the border.
“The necessary conditions for cooperation between the two countries must be enabled. Industry is one of the most important sectors of the economy. A direct air line between Skopje and Athens would help economic cooperation to a great extent”, Ampov says.
Meanwhile, he underlines that the name dispute is a problem which has hindered the advancement of relations between the two countries, the signing of cooperation agreements and other facilities of doing business.
According to the Union of the Chambers of Commerce in Skopje, most important sectors are agriculture, IT and construction.
“We ask from both countries to work for better infrastructural connections, especially for railway and air connections. The lack of an air line is a great obstacles in the relations between the two countries”, said Daniela Arsovska, chair of the Union of Chambers of Commerce.
During his visit to Skopje, the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias stressed the need to boost economic cooperation.
“Time has come to boost economic cooperation and overcome any type of irredentism”, Kotzias said.
Last year, Greece ranked fourth in terms of commercial cooperation with FYROM. The annual volume of trade amounts to 600 million euros, 450 millions of which belong to imports and 150 million belong to exports.
Greek companies are among the biggest investors, present in the banking sector, oil sector, commerce and textile industry.