Table of Contents
Albania- a country to discover
Key information .................................................................................6 Location and climate .........................................................................8 Population and language ................................................................ 12 History and government system ..................................................... 12 Natural resources ........................................................................... 15 Entertainment and culture .............................................................. 16 Economic overview ........................................................................ 17 Foreign Investments ...................................................................... 18 Privatization .................................................................................... 22 Tax regime ...................................................................................... 22 Banking system .............................................................................. 26 Labor market .................................................................................. 28 Foreign Trade .................................................................................. 29 Albania toward European Union Integration ................................... 33 Tourism ...................................................................................... 41 Agriculture ...................................................................................... 42 Industry ...................................................................................... 43 Mining, oil and gas ......................................................................... 44 Energy ...................................................................................... 45 Infrastructure .................................................................................. 46 FDI legislation ................................................................................. Form of business entities ............................................................... Free trade agreements ................................................................... Work regulations for foreigners ...................................................... License and company registration .................................................. Industrial and intellectual property ................................................. Foreign exchange rules .................................................................. Free zones and industrial parks ...................................................... Privatization, its structure and the legal framework ....................... Competition and consumer protection ........................................... About ANIH .................................................................................... Services ...................................................................................... ANIH Strategy for 2004 year .......................................................... Contact us ...................................................................................... 56 56 58 59 59 61 66 67 68 69 69 70 72 76

Economic and business Environment

Sectors of a great opportunity to invest

Business legislation

Albanian IPA IPA (ANIH)


Success stories .............................................................................. 78 Audit companies and Legal Studios in Albania ............................... 78 Bilateral agreements on investment area ....................................... 79 Legal framework for privatization ................................................... 80 Useful points of contacts ............................................................... 80



Dear Investor: It is with great pleasure that we present you with our second edition of “An Investor Guide to Albania” only one year after the publication of the first edition. Several positive changes have taken place in Albania and its economy over this period that reflect our country’s continued integration into the world economy, Europe and our region. This process has been reflected in our legislative and institutional development as they continue to approach international best practice. The Albanian government has undertaken considerable reforms to achieve targets pertaining to the economic development of the country. The Government is also seriously engaged in the implementation of these reforms as they are a cornerstone in our efforts to increase the flow of foreign direct investment. We are aware that the changes we need to undertake should reflect the numerous challenges we are facing in a world that is getting increasingly globalized. We consider ourselves a part of the global economy and endeavor to act accordingly. In this regard, Albania has signed several international agreements. Chief among them are a series of Free Trade Agreements with countries in our region which will, once fully implemented, create one market in Southeastern Europe with some 55 million consumers. Additionally, Albania has joined the WTO and is in the process of fulfilling membership requirements. The Government of Albania continues to view the presence of international investors in the economy as a priority and we are deeply committed to creating an enabling environment by identifying their concerns with the aim of improving the legal


and institutional framework to facilitate their entry and operation in Albania. Some of the milestones along this path include a joint project with FIAS that attempts to identify and remove administrative barriers for foreign investors; US EXIM’s new facilities for Albania; and, Albania’s inclusion in a recently formed OPIC Southeastern Europe investment fund. As a result, we were recently able to welcome several major investors into our country. Lockheed Martin, Raiffeisen Bank and Hochtief have decided to invest in Albania. Their presence, and the presence of many others, is testimony that Albania is emerging as a credible investment destination. Finally, through the publication of this Guide, we hope that you will become better acquainted with the investment opportunities that Albania has to offer and how to go about positioning your company to participate in Europe’s newest emerging market.

Anastas ANGJELI Minister of Economy




ALBANIA a country to discover
Official Name Head of State Head of Government Republic of Albania Alfred MOISIU Fatos NANO Southeastern Europe, borde red by the Adriatic and Ionian seas, and by Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro from the south -east to the north-west. Parliamentary Republic. Elections take place every 4 years. Tirana 570,184 inhabitants Durres 215,005 inhabitants Vlora 150,700 inhabitants 3,144,058 * 109.4 inhabitants per Sq. Km. Albanian Lek 1 USD = 101 leks 1 euro = 124.5 leks 28.748 km2 GMT + 1 + 355 (Albania) Two climate zones: Mediterranean and continental. Average temperature in winter is 6.80C/440F and in summer 23.9 0C/75 0F. Annual rainfall average 1371.6 mm/54”. $1935 (2003)**


Governance Capital

Next Two Biggest Cites Population Population Density Official language Currency Exchange Rate Surface Area Time zone Telephone Codes Climate

GDP per Capita
Source: *Institute of Statistics (1 January 2004) ** Bank of Albania


Location Albania is situated in the Western part of the Balkan Peninsula, covering an area of 28,748 square kilometers. It is bordered by Montenegro and Kosovo to the North and North East, FYR Macedonia to the East, and Greece to the South. The immediate western neighbor is Italy, some 82 km across the Adriatic through the straight of Otranto. Major cities include Tirana, the capital, as well as the ports of Durres and Vlora. LOCATION LOCATION AND CLIMATE CLIMATE



Climate Albania enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Due to its mountain ranges, the country’s climate varies. Albania is characterized by hot dry summers with bright sunny days, and generally mild winters with abundant rainfall. In the Albanian Alps, the northern part of the country, winters are cold and summers chilly. Normally, the period from June to September is characterized by hot and sunny weather, while from October to May the weather is cool and wet.

POPULATION POPULATION AND LANGUAGE Population The population of Albania stood at 3,145,408 in January 2003, with 20% of the population living in urban areas. Over 500,000 Albanians have emigrated during the 1990s, mostly to Greece and Italy. Demographic developments and urbanization are reflected in the decrease of the size of the household. Today, the four-member household is the most widely observed pattern. Language Albanian is the official language of Albania. And although it is a branch of the Indo-European family, Albanian is linguistically a distinct language not deriving or related to other Indo-European languages. Actually, Albanian derives from old Illyrian and has preserved its originality throughout history. Italian, English and French are widely spoken. Religion Albanians are Moslem and Christian (Catholic and Orthodox). After the Communist Era, during which atheism was enforced by the Constitution of 1967, Albanians became free to practice their beliefs. Historical background The territories of present day Albania have been inhabited as early back as 100,000 years ago. It was at the turn of the third millennium BC that Indo-Europeans settled there and a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula (pellazgs) came to be. Based on this




ancient population, the Illyrians developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. The Illyrians, ancestors of today’s Albanians, occupied the western Balkans in the 2nd millennium B.C. After its fall in the year 30 B.C., Illyria came under the control of the Roman Empire. With the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, Illyria became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Country suffered continuous invasions over the last 1000 years and by the end of the 14th century Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The subsequent efforts and struggles for independence eventually brought about the proclamation of the independence of Albania in 1912. After 1912 and until the end of the First World War, Albania struggled to establish its territorial integrity. Eleven years of monarchy and an occupation by Mussolini were followed in 1943 by German occupation. The Communist Party took power in November 1944, when foreign armies left Albania. Shortly thereafter, a totalitarian communist dictatorship was established and for about 50 years the regime applied a policy of self-isolation, leaving the Country in great economic poverty. As part of the wave of democratic changes that swept throughout eastern Europe, Albania finally emerged as a democracy in 1992.

Government and Administration Albania is a Parliamentary Republic based on a system of free periodic elections. The new Constitution of the Republic of Albania approved in the Referendum of November 22, 1998 is the supreme governing law of the country and embodies the principles of democracy and the rule of law. The Assembly is a one-chamber Parliament. Its members are directly elected every 4 years. The Presidency is composed of the Speaker and two Deputy Speakers, Parliamentary Groups and Parliamentary Committees. Currently, the Albanian Parliament counts 140 Members (MPs) and is composed as follows:


Table no. 1. Composition of parliament

The head of state is the President, who is elected by Parliament for a 5-year term. Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet). The Chairman of the Council (the Prime Minister) is appointed by the President. Ministers are appointed by the President with the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Assembly must give final approval of the composition to the Council of Ministers. The Albanian territory is divided into 12 Regions. Each region has a Regional Council and is composed of a number of Municipalities and Communes, which are the first level of local governance. Mayors and Heads of Communes are elected through direct ballot.


Albania has considerable mineral resources, including chrome, copper, nickel and coal. Before 1990, Albania ranked third among large producers of chrome ores in the world. Important reserves of Albanian box-ides and phosphate rocks have not been utilized yet. In 1997, an Italian consortium signed a joint-venture agreement for the rehabilitation of a chrome mine with an initial investment of USD 41 million. Additionally, Albania has reserves of limestone estimated to amount to approximately 130 million tons of marble and stone reserves. Both Oil and Gas have been extracted and produced since 1928. Reserves are estimated at more than 400 million tons with about 40 million tons utilized so far. Albania’s natural resources include its Mediterranean climate and location and unspoiled beaches, which make for excellent opportunities for tourism development. Additionally, and due to its many rivers and lakes, energy production is fast gaining the attention of investors. Geography and climate also make ideal conditions for agriculture and agro processing. NATURAL NATURAL RESOURCES

ENTERTEINMENT CULTURE AND CULTURE Albania enjoys many cultural monuments and locales, several of which are protected by international organizations such as UNESCO. The country counts around 2200 monuments of historical value. Important archaeological centers include Butrint, Apollonia, Durres and Berati. Additionally, Albania has many talented artists, musicians and painters with many galleries and exhibition halls catering to this.





Economic and Business Environment
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Gross Domestic Product Continuing a six year trend, the economy of Albania experienced good growth rates in 2003. According to the Central Bank of Albania, GDP growth in 2003 measured in current prices was around 6% compared to 4.7% in 2002. The economy continued to enjoy a stable prices index. The average annual inflation rate for 1998–2002 was around 3.5%.

Graph: Gross Domestic Product in Albania (1997 – 2003 year)

* - Estimated value for 2004

Source: Bank of Albania

GDP Structure The importance of the service sector continued to be emphasized for year 2003 GDP figures. Noteworthy figures include sales of “Trade, Hotels, and Restaurants,” which increased by 11.5% compared to last year. Revenues from tourism have increased by 7.2% during 2003. Investments in the transportation sector increased by 3%, which is a result of a Government budget expansion of 7% aimed at infrastructure improvement. And although the agricultural sector’s contribution to GDP has been declining, this sector remains one of the main pillars of the Albanian economy. Construction continued to be the most dynamic sector with third quarter 2003 figures recording an increase of some 22% in sales compared to the same period in 2002.


Economic sector’s contribution to the domestic product

Source: Bank of Albania

GDP per capita The GDP per capita index for Albania since 1992 continues to show a positive trend with (except for 1997).

GDP per Capita in USD

Source: Bank of Albania, Ministry of Finance

Employment The unemployment rate for 2003 was around 15%, which marked a continuing decrease in unemployment figures since 1999.

Unemployment Rate

Source: Ministry of Finance, Bank of Albania, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The employment level according to December 31, 2003 figures were as follows: Total Employment Employed in the Public Sector (totally) Employed in the Public Sector (budgetary) Employed in the Public Sector (non budgetary) Employed in the Private Sector (non agricultural)
Source: National Employment Service


385, 862 174, 693 128, 444 46, 249 211, 169

Unemployment figures registered at the National Employment Service stood at 163, 030 persons. The education level of the unemployed workforce registered was as follows: Elementary education
Source: National Employment Service

High School 50, 456

V ocational 23, 085

University 2, 579

86, 910

Inflation Inflation targets for 2003 as set by the Bank of Albania were met. An annual inflation rate of 3.3% was recorded by the end of the year while the average annual inflation rate was around 2.37%. The resulting price stability contributed positively the overall development of the Albanian economy and helped maintain macroeconomic equilibrium and financial system stability.

Annual inflation rate (%)

Source: Bank of Albania


Budget Deficit During 2003, decreases in expenses by the Government helped alleviate the budget deficit. Figures indicate a deficit of 32.8 billion leks; 76% of the projected deficit and 19% lower than 2002 figures.

Budgetory Deficit


Source: Ministry of Finance

Exchange Rates 2003 figures indicate the overvaluation trends of the Albanian currency (lek). Compared to end of year figures for 2002, the lek was overvalued by some 20% against the US dollar and 3.6% against the euro for the same period in 2003.

Foreign exchange rates EUR/Lek and USD/Lek during 2003

* - Estimated value for 2004

Source: Bank of Albania

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FDI) Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) continues to be an important component of private sector development and a prerequisite for the economic development of Albania. Hence, FDI promotion is a strategic objective of the Government. In this regard, the Government has pursued: • the creation of a legal and regulatory framework with incentives for foreign investors; • the minimization of investment risk; • the improvement and enhancement of the Albania’s image as a credible FDI destination; • the establishment of an independent and credible institution to appeal tax issues and cases with; and, • the improvement of both physical (energy, transport, telecommunication) and social (education, training, management) infrastructures As a result, FDI figures have sharply increased since 1998. According Bank of Albania data, FDI numbers for 2003 stood at USD 178 million, which is a 16.3% increase over 2002 figures. Estimated figures for 2004 are around USD 300 million, which incorporate the privatization of Savings Bank (bought by Austria’s Reiffeissen Bank for USD 126 million). For foreign investors, Albania continues to offer available natural resources, a liberal regulatory environment, access to regional and EU markets, privatization opportunities, a labor force that is competitive in terms of cost and quality, a strategic location and hospitable people. Notable foreign investors that have initiated new investments or increased levels of existing ones this year include Lockheed Martin and Vodafone.


FDI Flows



Source: Bank of Albania


FDI Flux for 2003 Year

in mln USD

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - OECD

FDI According to Countries of Origin and Sectors FDI figures indicate that Albania’s neighbors have taken a keen interest in the economic development of the Country with 48% of FDI originating in Italy, 34.2% from Greece, 2.2% from Macedonia and Turkey. Interestingly, 87% of Albania’s FDI originates from the EU.

FDI in Albania by origin country (in percentage)

Source: Bank of Albania

FDI in Albania


Source: Bank of Albania

The majority of Italian investments tend to small and medium size enterprises that operate mainly in construction (35%), textile and shoes production (21%), trade and services (16%), and agricultural processing (8%). Greek investments have focused on telecommunications, banking and construction.

FDI by sectors

Source: Bank of Albania

Foreign investments are mainly concentrated in the main districts of the country such as Tirana and Durres. Foreign investments in these two cities alone account for approximately 67% of the total of companies operating with foreign or joint-stock capital. This is because Durres and Tirana are among the biggest cities of Albania with Durres being the Country’s main port, handling


most of the import and export activity while Tirana is the capital and the Country’s business centre.

FDI by district location

Source: Ministry of Economy

Privatization in Albania aims to: • Stimulate the Albanian economy through the efficient use of natural and human resources • Support and further develop the private sector • Attract strategic and financial investors • Create the conditions for the establishment of the capital market • Prepare and deliver fast, efficient and credible privatization process in all sectors The main privatization opportunities in Albania for the near future are: Telecommunication In Telecommunication and Energy The privatization of Albtelecom s. a., with preparations underway since 2003. About 51-76% of the company will be sold through international tender. The privatization of the power distribution sector at the Albanian Electro-energetic Corporate (KESH s. a.), with preparations underway Hydrocarbons The privatization of Armo s. a (in process since 2003). The restructuring and privatization of Albpetrol s. a The privatization of Servcom s. a (in process since 2003).


In -

The privatization of the Oil Mechanic Factory s. a in Kuçove (in process since 2003 year)


Water Transportation In Water Supply and Transportation - Mother Theresa International Airport is given in concession for a 20 years period to the Consortium “Airport Partners”. - Durres Port cereal and grain terminal concession - Durres Port Trainferry Terminal Concession - Water supply systems in Berat and Kuçove Insurance - INSIG – the only one state owned insurance company in the market. It operates in Albania, Kosovo and in Macedonia for the non-life insurance. 39% of shares owned by IFC and EBRD The institutions engaged in the privatization process are: - Albanian Parliament - Council of Ministers - Ministry of Economy - The regulatory authorities for the respective sectors - Line Ministries-General Directorates - State Trade Enterprise (Board of Directors, Directorate) The approval of a sale or a concessionary contract is the last step in the privatization process and is granted by the Council of Ministers and Parliament. Preliminary efforts include an evaluation process approved by the Council of Ministers.

ARMO SH.A . Armo Sh.a. was created as a spin-off from Albpetrol Sh.a., the State company devoted to the entire oil and gas production process, until 1999. The Company is 100% controlled by the new holding company APC Sh.a., a new holding created as a financial vehicle and whose sole shareholder is the Albanian government. Armo is responsible for the downstream activities of the oil and gas production value chain. Armo is the only refining company in Albania and its only supplier is Albpetrol Sh.a. (responsible for the upstream activities). Armo operates through two refineries: one located in Ballsh and one located in Fier, both at about 15Km from the Western coast of Albania, south of Vlore. The two refineries have a combined theoretical capacity of 1.5 Mln tons of production per year


Ballsh refinery is the bigger of the two, with a theoretical capacity of 1 Mln/Tons per year. Fier refinery has a theoretical capacity of 0.5 Mln/Tons per year, and has a shorter production process than Ballsh. Company privatization law is approved and the entire legal framework for the privatization process is completed. ALBTELECOM SH.A . Albtelecom is the only provider of fixed telephony services in Albania, a rapidly growing and interesting market for fixed and internet services. Since the commencement of its operations, the Company has established its network, has achieved substantial subscriber growth and has developed a variety of service offerings and pricing plans to appeal business and residential customers. According to the statute, the share capital of Albtelecom is 17,400,000,000 leke, divided into 17,400,000 shares, with a nominal value of 1,000 leke each. At present, the sole owner of the shares is the Albanian Government, represented by the Ministry of Economy. Albletecom organizational structure consists on Headquarters, 12 regions and 24 Branches. Albtelecom offers basic local, long distance and international fixed telephony services to all urban districts of Albania as well as public telephony, telex and radio maritime communications. Due to the increasing presence of foreign and Albanian companies moving to urban areas, Albtelecom has been enriching its offer with more advanced services such as free call service, call forwarding, call waiting and voicemail and pre paid cards for public telephones. The Company also provides national and international data transmission services and ISDN mainly to business customers. Company privatization law is approved and the entire legal framework for the privatization process is completed. Albtelecom has the monopoly of international fixed telephony services in Albania up to December 31, 2004. Albtelecom owns at the same time the third license for offering GSM services in the country.

SUCCESSFUL PRIVATIZATIONS PRIV ATIZATIONS • AMC Albanian Mobile Communication (AMC), the only mobile operator until 2001, was launched in 1996 and privatized in 2000. The company was successfully sold to a joint-venture partnership between COSMOTE (Greece) and TELENOR (Norway). The firm has invested about USD 200 million in Albania. • Vodafone In September 2000, a tender was issued for a second GSM license. In February 2001, a consortium of Vodafone (UK) and Panafon (Greece) was chosen as the winner, with an offer of USD 38.1 million. • Savings Bank of Albania 2003 year witnessed the successful privatization of Savings Bank of Albania by the well-known Austrian Raiffeisen Bank with an offer of USD 126 million. • National Commercial Bank - BKT Another banking sector privatization milestone is the sale of the National Commercial Bank, completed in 2000. The bank was sold to a consortium of international investors that included Kentbank (Turkey), the International Finance Corporation (World Bank), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The new shareholders injected USD 10million in November 2000, resulting in a strong capitalization of BKT. Elbasan Cement Factory and Fushe Kruje Cement Factory In March 1997, Seament Albania acquired 70% of the Elbasan Cement Factory along with 70% of United Quarries. In November 1999, Seament Albania bought an additional 7% in Elbasan Cement Factory and in December 1999 an additional 16% in United Quarries. In July 2000, Elbasan Cement Factory won the auction for the privatization of Fushe Kruja Cement Factory, currently operating as a clinker grinding facility. Both factories are undergoing rehabilitation of existing technology and an expansion program is underway. • • Darfo Albania An Italian owned company, Darfo Albania has been operating since in accordance to a 30-year concession to produce ferrochromium.
Please see appendix for more information on the legal framework of the privatization process in Albania.



The Tax System in Albania consists of the following taxes and duties: I. National Taxes: 1. Personal income tax, 2. The Value Added Tax (VAT) 3. The Excise Tax 4. Other Taxes and Fees 5. Customs Duties 6. Social Security Taxes 7. Tax Treaties II. Local Taxes 8. The Local tax on small business 9. The Property Tax 10. The Hotel Tax 11. New Buildings or construction tax 12. The tax on alienation of immovable properties 13. Motor vehicle tax 14. Other local taxes and tariffs NATIONAL TAXES NATIONAL TAXES Personal Tax 1. The Personal Income Tax All individuals resident in Albania are taxed on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on their Albanian income. Employment incomes are subject to progressive tax rates from 5% to 25%. The first 14,000 lek ($1= lek 101) per month is exempt from taxation. Rental income, dividends, interest, partner profits, royalties and any other kind of personal income received by individual residents are taxed at a flat rate of 10%. Income from lotteries, games of chance and casinos are taxed at a flat rate of 20%. The transfer of ownership of real estate is taxed at progressive rates starting from 0.5% to 3% of the gross value of the property. Incomes of individuals with diplomatic status, pensions under the social security system and state unemployment benefits are exempt from personal income tax. ALBANIAN AXATION TAXATION REGIME

Profit Tax • The Simplified Profit Tax
The simplified profits tax (gross income tax) applies to any person who conducts business in the territory of the Republic of Albania and is not registered or required to be registered for VAT. Thus, it applies to small businesses registered taxpayers at a rate of

4% on the annual gross income and up to 8 million leks (over which amount the VAT registration is obligatory). There are no provisions granting loss relief in the Small Business Tax Law.


Profit Tax • Corporate Profit Tax
Corporations conducting business in Albania are subject to a profit tax at a flat rate of 25%. Resident corporations are taxed on their worldwide profits, while non-resident ones are taxed on profits from Albanian sources. Any payment consisting of dividends, other profit distributions, interest, royalties and technical fees for such activities conducted in Albania shall be subject to a withholding tax of 15%, except for the cases otherwise treated in the Corporate Profit Tax Law. Direct dividends for participations of more than 25% of the share capital are tax exempted. Capital gains from the sale of the company’s fixed business assets are taxed as part of the company’s income Resident companies will be credited on the profit tax paid abroad on foreign income, but such credit will not exceed the Albanian tax payable on such income. Persons and companies exempted from taxes are also specified in the law no. 8438, date 28.12.1998, and article 33, 34. Value alue-added Tax (VA 2. The Value -added Tax (V AT) The Law On Value Tax, Nr. 7928, dated 27.04.1995 and effective from 1 July 1996, imposes value added tax on all taxable goods and services made or supplied in the territory of Albania by taxable persons and all importations of goods into the territory of Albania. Under the provisions of this law, taxable persons are the juridical or physical persons, individuals or any other person, which are obliged to be registered on the basis of this law. Such persons are the ones whose annual turnover exceedes or will exceed the amount of 8 million leks The rate of the Value -Added Tax (VAT) is 20 %. Exports and the international transport of goods and passengers are not taxed under this law. The taxable value of imported goods is determined on the basis of the Customs Law, whether or not the imported goods are liable to customs duties under the law.


The reimbursement of the VAT is allowed if the excess tax credit is carried forward for six successive months and the claimed reimbursement exceeds 400,000 leks. In the case of exports, VAT reimbursement is allowed every month. In both cases, the tax authorities are obliged to make a VAT refund within 30 days from the date of the taxpayer’s written request. Tax 3. The Excise Tax (Duty) A new Law on Excise Duties entered into force on 6 January 2003. The law is based on the Albanian experience with excise taxes and on the European Union directives on excise taxes. Compared with the previous law on excise duties, the new law has more comprehensive provisions which enable the Tax Administration to employ better methods and means for collecting, auditing and enforcing excise duties. Excise duties are levied on the domestic consumption of certain goods such as tobacco, all alcoholic drinks, soft and fresh drinks, coffee, electric power, petroleum, oil by-products, etc. Excise duty rates are low relative to the rates applied in other countries in the region. The excise rates are defined in specific amounts per unit of excisable goods or as a percentage rate on the value of excisable goods. PRODUCTS Cigarettes Coffee Beer Wine other alcoholic drinks Perfumes Oil RATES EXISES RATES 25 lek per packet 40 lek/kg 30 lek/litre 20 lek/litre 100 lek/litre 50 % of the value 30 lek/litre

Excises rates

Exports are exempted from excise tax. Taxes 4. Other National Taxes and Fees Other taxes and fees in Albania include the national taxes and fees imposed under the provision of the law no.8977 dated 12.12.2002 “On the System of Taxes in the Republic of Albania.” Such taxes are the port tax, tax on import of used vehicles, tax on TV sets, tax on the use of telephones, consular fees, fees on registration in a university, fees for possessing a driving license, hunting license fees, fishing license fees, and some other minor taxes and fees.

5. Custom Duties Custom Duties are levied on all goods imported into the territory of Albania, except in the cases otherwise provided in customs legislation. The customs value of imported goods is the transaction value and includes the price of the commodities shown in the invoice along with the transport and insurance costs. There are four rates of customs duties: 0 %, 2%, 10% and 15% and duties may be paid in lek or in hard currencies using the official exchange rates of the Bank of Albania. Exemption from customs duties are only given in cases provided by the customs law or under Free Trade Agreements or other international agreements concluded by Albania, such as the case of various aid forms, soft credits or governmental agreements, provided that such exemptions are expressively mentioned in the concerned governmental agreements and such agreements are ratified by the Albanian Parliament. Taxes 6. Social Security Taxes The general social security system in Albania is regulated under the previsions of the law No. 7703 dated 11.05.1993 “On Social Security in the Republic of Albania,” which is administered by the Public Institute of Social Security and the Law No.7870 of October the 10th, 1994 “On Health Securities in the Republic of Albania” administered by the Ministry of Health. The whole system of obligatory social and health security is non profitable. TAXES L OCAL TAXES Tax The Local Tax on Small Business The Law No. 8978 dated 12.12.2002 “On Local Tax on Small Business” regulates the taxation of small business activities that are not registered as VAT (value added tax) taxpayers. Under the provisions of this law, taxable persons are those that conduct business in the territory of the Republic of Albania at any time during the calendar year and which are not subject to the Value Added Tax. This tax does not apply to agricultural activities. The Law no. 8982 dated 12.12.2002 “On the System of Local Taxes” regulates all local taxes and tariffs administered and managed directly by the local governments. The main local taxes are:


Tax Small Business Tax The system offers a very simple and special treatment to small business activities regulated under the provisions of the law “On


Small Business Tax.” Any individual entrepreneur or legal entity ” that conducts business in Albania with an annual turnover under 8 million leks per year is entitled to this treatment. The treatment consists in a fixed tax in lek per year in conformity with the type of business and the district in which the business is conducted, coupled with a turnover tax of 4% of the taxpayer’s turnover ranging from 2 to 8 million leks for any calendar year. The income of individuals receiving this treatment is not subject to either the individual income tax or the Corporate Profit Tax. Property Tax 9. The Property Tax (includes buildings and land taxes). The buildings tax is defined in leks per square meter per calendar years and it varies according to the category of the district and purpose for which the buildings are used (residential dwellings have lower rates than buildings that are used for the business purposes). The land tax is defined in leks per hectare per calendar year and varies according to the category of the land (e.g. agricultural land is divided into 10 categories, according to soil fertility and other criteria). The Law on the System of Local Taxes sets the property tax rates but local governments have the right to change the property tax rate by as much as 30%. The tax is to be paid by owners of buildings or land in compliance with the procedures set by the local government organs. 10. The Hotel Tax is another local tax levied at a rate of 5% Tax on the effective nightly price per room or per person. This tax is to be withheld by the hotelkeeper and remitted to the local government within the 5th day of each month for the previous month. Tax. 11. New Buildings or Construction Tax. The tax rate is defined by the local government at a rate of 1-3% (for Tirana Municipality it ranges between 2-4%) on the value of the investment of the new building. It is to be paid by the investor at the time the building license is issued. Tax Properties. 12. The Tax on Alienation of Immovable P roperties. The transfer of the right of ownership over real-estate is taxed at a rate of 2% on the gross transaction value (selling price) of the property. The tax is levied at the property registration offices and remitted to the municipality of the commune where the property in question is located. Vehicles Tax. 13. Motor Vehicles Tax. This is an annual fixed tax for each type of car or vehicle and is to be paid by the owner to the appointed local government office by 31st of March of each year.

14. Other local tax and tariffs. The Municipality Council or the Commune Council has the right to set tax rates for public displays and advertisements and to introduce temporary taxes on the permanent inhabitants in their territories when necessary for the general benefit of their community.



Tariffs Customs Legislation (Customs Code and Tariffs Law) The basic law of the Custom Administration is the law No.8449 dated 27.01.1999 “The Custom Code of the Republic of Albania” and the Council of Ministers resolution No.205 dated 13.04.1999 “The Executive Disposes of the Custom Code.” Since 1999, the Customs Code of the Republic of Albania has been fully in line with the customs legislation of the European Union. All the procedures in the code are consistent with international rules in this area, guaranteeing uniform and transparent procedures for all. The Customs Administration of the Republic of Albania is a member of WCO (World Custom Organization), observes the articles of GATT regarding revenue evaluation, and has to harmonize the combine nomenclature of the products accordance the legislation of the European Union. The tariff law is a crucial part of the customs legislation, which is updated frequently in line with international practice and also in line with domestic liberalization policies. The tariff level in Albania is being constantly liberalized. The basic levels are: without taxes, 2%, 5%, 6%, 10% and 15% and other intermediate levels according to the free trade agreements that Albania is party to. Albania has subscribed to several treaties within its region. These include Free Trade Agreements with FYR of Mecedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Kosovo, and is to be subscribing the preferential agreement with EU. The implementation of these agreements consists with the subscription between the custom administrations, finding the well understanding for each procedural way.


The banking system witnessed significant and important changes in 2003. Chief amongst these were the successful privatization of the Savings Bank of Albania. All shares of Savings Bank of Albania were sold to the well-known Austrian “Raifeissen Bank.” Additionally, two new banks started operation in 2003, both with domestic capital. These events are expected to improve the quantity and quality of financial services offered by the banking sector by increasing the range of financial products and providing for healthy competition.


The financial position of the banking system at the end of 2003 was satisfactory. Net positive revenues stood at around 4.45 billion leks or 0.6% of GDP, some 14% higher than 2002 figures. Interest payments were the main contributor to this picture. It is worthy to note that credit activity of the banking increased by around 30.5% in 2003 compared to year end 2002. The Bank of Albania (BoA) is the central bank of the Republic of Albania. Within its competencies established by law, the BoA is independent of any other authority in the exercise of its duties. Its mandate is maintaining price stability. The Bank of Albania is exclusively responsible for the licensing and supervision of all banks in the Republic of Albania. The number of banks operating in Albania has increased over the years. Currently, there are 15 banks operating in the Country with branches located in almost all the cities of Albania. The services these banks offer vary and include money transfers, loans, saving accounts, etc. Such services facilitate the investment processes and business activity.
Please see appendix for a list of banks operating in Albania.

INFORMATION GENERAL INFORMATION Banka Popullore - the newest bank in Albania has started its activity on March‘04 in Tirana and very soon in other cities, - Kavaje, Sarande, Bilisht, Vlore, Himare etc. Banka Popullore was founded with shareholders’ equity of 805 mln ALL (approximately 8 mln USD) with the participation of more than 20 albanian businessmen. The shareholders’ equity is growing and it’s value will increase over 1056 mln ALL (about 10 mln USD) by the end of September 2004. The Bank Services Offered are: • • • • Current Account, Saving Accounts & Time Deposits in ALL and foreign currencies, for corporate and individuals. Treasury Bills operations. FOREX transactions. Issuance and Clearance of Bank cheque and personal cheque in ALL and in foreign currency. • • • • • Incoming and outgoing transfer in ALL and foreign currency. Import and Export Letter of Credit. (l/c). Bank Guarantee. Credit facilities. Financial Consultancy

The correspondent banks are as follows:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Raiffeisen Zentralbank , Wien /Austria – main correspondent bank Savings Bank of Albania/Albania Tirana Bank /Albania American Bank of Albania/Albania Credins Bank/Albania

The Head Office is located in Tirana and the General Manager of the Bank is Mr. Libohova. Mr. Edvin Libohova Headquarter’s Address: Headquarter ’s Address EGT Tower, “Donika Kastrioti”str. No 11/1, Tirana, Albania; Tel :+355 4 272790/91; Fax :+355 4 272781;; •E-mail : ;

LABOR MARKET Legal framework Employment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of Republic of Albania. Albania is a member of the International Labor Organization since 1920. Hence, it has ratified the 37 ILO articles pertaining to work and employment conditions, safety and health protection, child and women protection, working time and breaks, wages, rights and trade-union freedom, strike rights, prevention and settlement of working conflicts, labor administration, national labor councils, etc. Employment relationships are regulated by the Labor Code of the Republic of Albania. This code guarantees recruitment and professional nondiscrimination and reflects the Social European Card and other international agreements to which Albania is party. For out of court settlement of labor disputes, the following institutional frameworks are established: the intermediary (a government labor official), the State Offices of Reconciliation and an Arbitration Court. Basically, employer and employee are obligated to regulate their relationship via a contract. The standard weekly work load is a maximum of 40 hours. The contracting parties may agree for extra working hours. However, workers cannot exceed 50 working hours per week without a special permission from the Labor Inspectorate. Overtime work and work during holidays and weekends is compensated for with a pay increase of no less than 25% of employee wages. It can also be compensated for with extra days off. Capacity building in Albania The capacity building trends during the last few years have been oriented towards foreign language (especially English) and computer skills. During 2003, around 8000 people were trained at the 8 public centers for capacity building spread out throughout Albania, from which about 3,600 were certificated in English and 2,143 in computer skills. In private training center, around 6,100 persons were trained during 2003 of which 4,540 were females. Trainee education levels were as follows: Elementary education 2,559
Source: National Employment Service


High School 2,814

University 751

Wages and Pension The minimum wage in Albania is 11, 376 leks ($1 = 101 leks). A person can start work at the age of 16 with certain conditions


and is considered a full laborer at the age of 18. Retirement takes place at the age of 65 years for males and 60 years for females. Health and Social Insurance The basic law on social insurance is Law No. 7703 dated 05/11/ 1993 “On Social Insurance in the Republic of Albania.” The general social insurance system comprises mandatory insurance, voluntary insurance, supplementary insurance and special state pensions. Health Insurance Law No. 7870 of 10/13/1994 covers health issues. Health insurance comprises mandatory insurance and voluntary insurance. According to this law, health insurance financing sources include: mandatory social insurance, the state, direct payments by citizens and extra voluntary health insurance. Mandatory insurance applies to all Albanian citizens who are permanent residents as well as to foreign citizens employed and insured in Albania. Mandatory insurance is placed with the Health Insurance Institute and partially covers costs for basic medicines, as established by the Council of Ministers. Contribution is payable by employees, employers, the state, and other economically active persons. The employee’s contribution is 30.7% of the gross salary and the employer’s contribution is 11.2% of gross salary. The Albanian social security system is administrated by the Public Institute of Social Security, which is under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers. Employer and employee contributions are as follows:

Source: Public Institute of Social Security (ISSH)

FOREIGN TRADE During 2003, figures for trade in goods stood at USD 2.2 billion, 22.8% higher than 2002. Imported goods amounted to USD 1,860 million, 20% higher than the previous year. Exported goods stood at USD 447 million with an annual rise of 35%. Albania’s economy remains imports oriented. During 2003, imports represented 80% of the foreign trade volume. 2003 year was characterized by a high deficit on services trade. Revenues from services during this year rose by 23% and expenditures by 36%. The trade deficit for 2003 stood at USD 1.4 billion, 16% higher than the previous year. Total volume of exports covers around 25% of imports. Since 1993, trade volumes have been growing at an annual weighted average of 13.3%. For 2003, measured in absolute terms, trade volumes were 3.1 times higher than their level in 1993, which is testimony to the ever-increasing openness and expansion of the Albanian economy.
In millions USD


Source: Albanian Center for International Trade - ACIT

A positive development is the increment of capital goods imports used for production. Machinery and equipments import registered an annual increase of 18%; a good indicator of the investment level in the country.

Figure: Exports according to the main group of goods: 2003

Source: INSTAT


Figure: Imports according to main group of goods in the HS nomenclature.

Source: INSTAT

Partners Trading P artners Albania’s trade activity remains European Union focused. Trade with EU countries represented 68% of imports and 93% of exports. Italy and Greece are the main trading partners.

Imports According to Trading Partners

Exports According to Trading Partners

Source: Bank of Albania

TRADE REGIME Albania has a liberal trade regime. A 1998 Decision of the Council of Ministers provides for an open export-import regime, excepting hazardous goods. Restricted goods include: : • military or strategic materials • radioactive materials • psychotrone (drugs) materials Export and import of these goods is conducted in line with international rules. Albania’s liberal trade regime aims to further promote growth of the Country’s exports and improve its negative trade balance. Noteworthy features include: • Exports are not subject to any export taxes, fees or other barriers with a similar effect • Albanian imports are not subject to any import duty tax other than customs duties • Imports are subject to the VAT, and some items such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages and fuel are also subject to an excise tax. World Trade Albania and the World Trade Organization Albania joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000 and has been working to bring its policies in line with those widely used in international trade. WTO membership is a guarantee for foreign investors that they will be subject to the conditions, rules and norms standard in international trade. Imports Licensing Albania applies WTO rules on import licensing. Import licensing is applied to products which affect life, health and the environment. Preferential Access to Markets Albania has preferential access to the EU market as well as to certain other markets. This is guaranteed by the asymmetric regime with the European Union (combined with the asymmetric regional regime accorded to some countries in the region) and various Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Please see list in the appendix. The Asymmetric Regime with the European Union As of October 1, 1999 Albanian exports to EU countries have benefited from the asymmetric regime, in the form of “autonomous measures.” Because of this regime, Albanian exports gain various reductions/discounts on duties when



accessing the EU market. The regime is applicable to agricultural as well as industrial goods.

Agricultural goods are categorized according to this regime into:
• Products without limitation in quantity and with 0% customs duty. • Products with limitations in quantity but with 0% customs duties such tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh vegetables, processed vegetables, etc. • Products with limitations in quantity and customs duties established in the EA (Agriculture Elements) additional code such as milk and its by products, butter and milk fat, frozen vegetables, margarine, sugar sweets, chocolates, etc. • Products without quantity limitations and maximum customs duties. • After the expiry of this regime, all agricultural products covered by it will be entitled to the benefits of the General System of Preferences (GSP).

Industrial products are similarly categorized. However, they are not eligible to benefit from the GSP.
This asymmetric regime was further improved to cover a broader range of goods and items and the quotas were increased. After completing the quota, the export of products is subject to customs duties applied according to the MFN.

ALBANIA AND EUROPEAN UNION INTEGRATION INTEGRATION The stabilization and association agreement (SAA) of Albania to EU has two main components: economic and political stability. The goal is the creation of a favorable business climate and lowering country risk. Albania is working to benefit from this process in terms of: • Creating a positive image of the Country • Improving the business legislative framework • Gaining more European Community aid in support of stability and the functioning of a market economy, leading to a gradual approximation of Albania’s economic policies toward Europe. One of the articles of this agreement, SAA (90) on “Investment Promotion and Protection” deals with cooperation with EU institutions on issues related to investment promotion and protection, with the aim of creating a favorable climate for private investments, both domestic and foreign. Cooperation areas include: • Economic and trade issues – the collaboration will consist on formulating and implementing economic policies and business law enforcement. • Statistical field – aiming to provide an efficient statistical system. • Banking, assurance and other financial services. • Development of financial control and auditing system in Albania. • Creation of a favorable climate for domestic and foreign private investment. Sectors covered include SME-s, industry and tourism, agriculture and fisheries. • Approximation of Albanian customs system to that of the European Community, with an emphasis on efficiency. • Legislation pertaining to infrastructure, transportation, energy and environment to approximate Community legislation. • Legislation pertaining to consumer protection, data protection, health, safety and equal treatment by employees. The legislation approximation process is to be undertaken during two transitory periods: the above mentioned fields should be realized within the 5-year first transitory period. During the second phase, Albania will focus on the remaining part of Community legislation.





ALBANIA’S ALBANIA’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES AD V ANTAGES Box 1.1 Albania has embarked on the path of trade liberalization and is facing serious competition in the regional market. Hence, Albania needs to know and utilize its competitive advantages. ADVANTAGES MAIN COMPETITIVE AD VANTAGES OF ALBANIA • proximity and preferential access to EU markets and participation in a variety of trade agreements, regional and global • liberal economic policy and legal framework for FDI • competitive labor costs with a well trained workforce • favorable natural conditions • mineral and other natural sources • potential for organic agricultural • privatization drive • light manufacturing and agro processing

Box 1.2

CONTRIBUTION OF STABILITY PACT TO ALBANIA’S STABILITY TO ALBANIA’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe was initiated on 10 July 1999 at the meeting of the G-8 countries in Köln, Germany. Its objective was to support the countries of southeastern Europe in their efforts to secure peace, democracy, economic development and the observance of human rights. The Agreement of Association and Stabilization between the EU and Albania has as its primary element the stabilization of the region and of each particular country. It has led to: * a dialogue with international financial institutions to increase finding sources, which will help the development of each country in the region * the development of common regional strategies (in accordance with EU strategies for development) for infrastructure development, energy, trade, investment, information technology development, corruption, contraband, etc., and the signing of Free Trade Agreements among the region’s countries. Albania has completed bilateral negotiations with Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldavia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo and Turkey.


Tourism Albania is a country rich in tourist resources, including mountains, valleys, forests, rivers and lakes. Traditional villages, ancient castles and a beautiful coastline are part of that heritage as well. The Government is giving high priority to tourism, which it considers a sector with great potential, and hopes that it may benefit from infrastructure development assistance to be provided in the context of the Stability Pact. Albania surprises many tourists with the diversity of its landscapes, which change quickly and dramatically. Albania is a Mediterranean country with special geographical and geological features, with varying landscapes to be found interwoven with one another. Landscapes range from typical Mediterranean in West and South West, to mixed landscapes in the central areas, to steep mountains in the inner part of country. Its coasts are endowed with beautiful beaches. There are many beautiful inland lakes, natural lagoons, reserves, hunting grounds and SPAs. Agriculture Although the weight of this sector has continued to decrease over the past few years, agriculture remains one of the most important sectors of the economy. This sector has contributed 24% of GDP. In 2003, agricultural production grew by 3% compared with 2002. The growth and development of the agricultural sector supports the growth of the Albanian economy and the Country’s economic stability. Albania enjoys natural factors that support agriculture such as its climate and geography. SECTORS PRESENTING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Sectors of Great Opportunitiess to Invest
Primary products include vegetables, livestock forages, corn, fruit, vineyards and olives. Albania has the potential for a competitive agro processing industry. Bread Production Bread production is the largest contributor to the food industry. 2002 figures put this contribution at 38%, followed by the milling industry with a 15% contribution. Milling enterprises are being consolidated and the horizontal integration phenomenon explains the reduction of the number of enterprises on one hand and the increase of the production and income for this sector on the other. Milk Processing There are about 370 milk processing enterprises in the Country with different processing capacities, comprising 19% of the total number of agro processing enterprises. According to 2002 figures, the milk processing industry was the second largest agricultural sector after bread production. About half of the value of investments in this sector were in technology. Meat Processing About 56 enterprises operate in this sector. Investments were mostly in acquiring new technology. 2002 figures indicate a production increase of 2.3 times 1998 figures. Fisheries The nineties witnessed the establishment of new fish collecting and trading centers; in total, around 34 were set up. The sector is concentrated near the main ports of Albania. Fish harvesting enterprises are also present. Trading firms collect, process and export mainly fresh fish to European Community countries. Additionally, around 692 ton of canned fish were exported in 2002. Being one of the first countries of Central and East Europe to benefit from “the most preferred countries” status granted by the European Community, Albania was able to export fish to neighboring countries such as Greece and Italy. Vegetables Processing F ruits and Vegetables P rocessing Industry Production of fruits and vegetables is increasing in Albania. Currently, the Country processes approximately 5% of its vegetable and fruit produce. A sizeable share of the processed fruits and vegetables market is captured by imports, mainly from Macedonia. Enterprises active in the sector that are mostly oriented towards the production of conserved products such as



tomato paste (6710 tons), canned vegetables (7715 tons), marmalade (1819 tons), jams and composts (5645 tons). Olive Oil Production Albania is a country rich with olive trees, with approximately 3.8 million roots estimated in 2002. Olive oil produced in Albania is of high quality and has much export potential. A considerable number of olive processing enterprises operate at present in Albania with a daily capacity of about 400 tons. They mainly operate with the classic technology based on pressing processes. 2002 production figures were 4 times those of 1998. Tobacco Albania has both the tradition and the potential for high quality oriental tobacco manufacturing; a variety much in demand in export markets. Local tobacco production meets less than 10% of the country’s need for this product. Wine and Alcoholic beverages manufacturing industry Before the 1990s, Albania processed approximately 40 thousand ton of grapes and produced around 80,000 hl of wine and 30,000 hl of Raki (a traditional alcoholic drink). Currently, wine production is about 14,000 hl, unexploited potential. Currently, there are about 28 wine producers.

Sectors of Great Opportunitiess to Invest
Mining & Minerals Albania has considerable mining & mineral resources including chrome, copper, nickel and coal. Albania also has reserves of limestone estimated to amount to approximately 130 million tons of marble and stone reserves. The EU is providing technical assistance for the restructuring of the mining & minerals industry. Manufacturing The manufacturing sector has attracted a large number of small joint-ventures in agro processing, textiles, footwear and wood processing. The textile industry offers plenty of opportunities for foreign investors and accounts for 37,4 % of exports, with footwear accounting for a further 21%. Wood processing opportunities include possibilities for saw-milling, plywood and reconstituted panel making, parquet, joinery and furniture production. Energy sector Albania benefits from a supply of cheap hydropower energy, with eight major hydro-stations. Hydropower accounts for 95% of all energy generation. Total installed capacity (hydro and thermal) is around 1,656,000 kilowatts, making for around 3.6 billion kilowatt hours per year. However, the system is operating below capacity. Moreover, the country’s true hydropower potential is estimated at over 16 billion KWh per year. Albania has no facility for gas power and no storage facility for liquefied petroleum gas. Telecommunications International financial institutions have stressed the importance of a transparent privatization process for the telecommunications sector as this will stimulate further sector development and set an example for other parts of the economy slated for privatization. The World Bank and the EBRD helped create a competitive framework through regulatory measures, with a regulatory authority and appropriate legislation already in place. A new telecommunications law was adopted in June 2000, designed to lay out key requirements for the development of and minimum standards for the sector, including radio frequency allocation, payments for licenses and the operation of the regulatory authority. Currently, there are two mobile phone operators in Albania, AMC and VODAFONE, Albtelecom, the state fixed line telephony is slated for privatization. In March 2004, Eagle Company was created by Albtelecom to operate a third mobile network.



Transport A number of important transport projects are due to go ahead in the near future. These include roads, railroads and pipelines. The increased capacity will be a boost for the economy in general. Road There are about 18,000 km of roads in Albania of which 7,450 km are considered as main roads. These roads are maintained by the state. With the dramatic increase of oad vehicles and the increased importance of Albania as a transit route, the Government has given priority to the main east-west and northsouth routes, which are being upgraded within an EU-sponsored program in cooperation with other international donors. Additionally, the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe is giving priority to road rehabilitation under the “Quick Start” and NearTerm Program. Total funding from the various donors under the Stability Pact for transport development amounted to USD 204 million for 12 projects, which include roads and the development of the Durres Port. The Government has given priority to the main National Roads Corridor, North-south and East-west (which is part of Europe’s Corridor 98. The Durres-Kukes highway is also under consideration. Railway Albania has a railway network of 447 km. The Government is giving priority to the reconstruction and modernization of the

Sectors of Great Opportunitiess to Invest
main north-south and east-west routes. Italy is contributing to the modernization of the Tirana-Durres route. A US firm is currnelty negotiating a rail link between Tirana, Durres and Mother Tereza International Airport (estimated cost at USD 80 million). Other projects include the renovation of the Durres Pogradec line with a new extension to the FYR Macedonian border (estimated cost of euro 200 million). Additionally, the Greece has been considering financing a railway line from Pogradec to the port of Thessalonica, which would provide an important outlet for central Albania’s mines. In January 2000 the Japanese government donated USD 1.9 million towards Albanian railway rehabilitation efforts. Ports There are five ports in Albania that are open to the international traffic. They are: Durres, Vlora, Saranda, Shengji and Himara. The most important ports are Durres, which has ferry facilities, and Vlora, a naval and ferry port. Durres Port handles 65% of imports and exports. It is the main gateway for Corridor 8. The Government recently approved a master plan for the development of this port; a key project in the framework of the Stability Pact under the Near-Term program. Financing is being provided by the World Bank, the EU Phare Program and the European Investment Bank. The aim is to improve the efficiency and capacity of the port. Under this project, the Durres Port Authority has been established as a joint



stock company and has started operating under a Supervisory Board. A Durres Industrial Park is being promoted by the EBRD which is planned to be built just outside Durres. A project financed by the European Investment Bank of USD 17 million for infrastructure rehabilitation of the port is almost completed. The second port is Vlora, a strategic point for the future development of maritime industry in Albania. About euro 16 million has been invested in the development of Vlora Port already. The Government has also invested some of its funds to rehabilitate the ports of Saranda and Shengjini. Airports Tirana’s Mother Tereza International Airport is currently undergoing modernization. Siemens of Germany has completed a project with a cost of USD 26.5 million to rebuild the runway, lights and boundary fence. Plans have been approved for a new passenger and cargo terminal and the Government has recently awarded a concession of a 20 years period to a consortium “Airport Partners”, lead by Hochtief of Germany to modernize and operate the Airport with a contract of 83 million Euro. This concession is the first successful total privatization of an airport in the Balkan region. Lockheed Martin recently concluded an agreement for the modernization and operation of the air traffic control system. During the year 2003 was concluded the first stage of operations

Sectors of Great Opportunitiess to Invest
with an investment of 3, 3 million USD. During this stage was installed the new automatic Sky Line System. The undertaken measures and the complete modernization of technical and operational infrastructure of national air traffic through a prospected investment of 30 million USD, intend to increase in the future efficiently the operations and overpasses traffic and the guarantee of air insurance. Albania has also received a grant from the UAE Government for the construction of Kukes Airport and its completion is forseen in the near future.





FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT LEGISLATION LEGISLATION Albanian legislation, particularly the “Law on Foreign Investments” No. 7764 dated 02. 11. 1993, foreigners have the right to engage in economic activities without the need to request permission or authorization. Foreign investors are treated on a basis no less favorable than that accorded to Albanian nationals except in cases involving the ownership of land, which is treated by a special law. Albanian legislation provides that in all cases and at all times foreign investments shall receive fair and equitable treatment and shall enjoy full protection and security. Specifically, foreign investments are protected from expropriation and nationalization and other similar actions. Expropriations or limitations of a property rights according to Article 41 of the Constitution can only be carried out in cases involving public interests and against fair compensation. Such expropriations or limitations of property rights are based on law No. 8561 dated 22.12.1999 “ expropriation and taking for temporary use of “On private properties for public interest.” Foreign investors that suffer losses due to war, armed conflicts, national emergency or other similar events will be treated no less favorable than Albanian investors.


Trade Law on Trade Companies The laws that regulate Albanian companies are: Law No. 7638 dated 19.11.1992 “On Commercial Companies” and Law No. 7667 dated 28.01.1993 “On the Business Register.” The Trade Register is located at the Court of First Instance of the Tirana District and covers all businesses that operate in the Republic of Albania. According to the Company Law, a company can take the following forms: Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company and Joint Stock Company.


Partners: Partners 2 or more partners Characteristics: Characteristics a general partnership is considered an entity distinct from its partners, who themselves may be individuals or legal entities. In addition to the general partners, in a limited partnership there are limited partners, whose liability is up to the extent of their contribution. No minimum capital is required. Members: Members 2 or more shareholders capital: Minimum capital 100,000 lek Share and contribution requirements: The capital is divided into equal shares with nominal value not less than Lek 100,000. The basic capital must be entirely subscribed by the shareholders and completely paid in. The statute must contain an estimate of the value of each contribution in kind. Members are responsible for the company’s obligations to the extent of their interest in the company’s capital.Company management: The general meeting is the decision making body. Managers do not need to be Albanian citizens or shareholders. Shareholders: 2 or more shareholders capital: Minimum capital Lek 10 000 000 for setting up the company with a public offer and 2 000 000 for a company founded without a public offer. Share and contribution requirements: The minimum nominal value of shares is not less than 1 000 Lek. The capital must be subscribed completely. By registration at least 25% of the capital must be paid in. The remaining amount is to be paid in one or more installments according to the decision of the Board of Directors. Contributions in kind are to be paid completely at the time of registration. Stocks cannot represent contributions in the form of services. Company management The General management: Meeting is the decision making body. It appoints a Supervisory Board with 3 to 21 members. There are no citizenship requirements for members.Specific features: The required capital for insurance Specific and reinsurance joint-stock companies, excluding the contributions in kind, must be no less than Lek 30 million. Joint-stock companies that are investment funds must have a minimum capital of not less than the amount in Lek equivalent to USD 20.000. Foreign entities may subscribe up to 50% of the capital of an investment fund. The minimum required capital is Lek 700 million. Legal framework: Law No. 7632, on Provisions of the First Part of the Commercial Code ( 04 Nov. 1992); Law No. 7667 on Commercial Register (28 Jan. 1993)Registration: Foreign companies may open branches which must be registered at the Commercial Register. Framework: Legal Framework Law No. 8017 on Bankruptcy Procedures (25.10.1995) Framework: Legal Framework Law No. 8044 on Competition (7 Dec. 1995)

Table : Types of Companies

Limited Liability Company

Joint- Stock Company


Bankruptcy Anti-Trust Rules

FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTA) (FTA) In the context of its Memorandum of Understanding with the countries of the region for trade liberalization and facilitation, Albania has begun negotiating free trade agreements with FYR Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Kosovo and Turkey. (Please see table in the appendix) FTAs, based on the principle of reciprocity and mutual advantages, aim to substantially reduce and liberalize customs, duties and other trade barriers, and above all to eliminate the discrimination in bilateral and multilateral trade relations between the signatory countries. FTAs provide for the establishment of free trade areas between parties over a period of 5 to 6 years through the elimination of tariffs on trade and in full compliance with article XXIV of GATT 1994. FTAs differentiates between industrial and agricultural goods. Agricultural products are more likely to be partially or fully protected, while industrial products are subject to progressive tariff reductions, with few exceptions. The FTAs that Albania entered into after its accession to the WTO are considered amongst the most important reforms undertaken by the Government, with a view of having in place a modern economy in compliance with European standards, striving towards: • Higher living standards • Increasing the employment • Raising real incomes and effective demand • Increasing production and trade



The regime for entry, stay, travel, and employment of foreigners in the Republic of Albania is established in Law No.8492 dated 05/27/1999 “On foreign citizens.” Visas and stay permits for foreigners Foreign citizens may enter the territory of Albania with or without a visa (depending on nationality). All foreign citizens whose stay in Albania exceeds 20 days must fill out a form at the closest police station. Albanian visas vary from 3 to 12-months. All foreigners have the right to apply for permanent residence after 5 years. Foreigners who work less than 3 months in Albania do not need permission from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Foreigners who foresee a stay of less than 3 months may apply for: - diplomatic visas - service visas - simple visas (tourist, work, medical)


Work permits for foreign citizens Persons who are not Albanian citizens and wish to work in Albania for more than three months need a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The Minister decides on the standard form of the work permits, procedures for acquiring, renewing and refusing work permits and the documents that need to be submitted along with the application. The application forms can be obtained from the Migration Department at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, at Albanian embassies and consulates abroad and at regional labor offices. The issuing or refusal of the work permit takes up to 30 days from the day of the submission of the documentation to the relevant body. Eight different types of work permits are issued to foreigners who work in Albania. Restricted permits (e.g. for reduced hours, for specific geographical areas) are issued to students and to other workers in their initial work period. Self-employed persons, persons who employ at least two Albanian citizens for every foreign one, and persons who have held a restricted work permit for at least three years can receive permits without geographical restrictions or restrictions as to type of activity. The initial validity of the permit is usually for one year but it can be extended for up to five years. Persons who have worked in Albania for five years may apply for a permanent permit. The process of acquiring and extending a work permit is fairly straightforward and takes no more than one month.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. The decision of court Attestation of the Labor Office Attestation of the social support office Tax for advertising Tax for exercising the activity Tax for the building Tax for the rented land Tax for cleaning Property tax Bank account and the attestation of the bank Permission by the inspection authority. Hygiene-sanitary certificate Registering cash machine Registration in the office for the control of measuring means Registration of statistic regional office


Box. 1.


For legal persons
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Statute of the company Foundation act of the company The decision of the Tirana court for legal person Attestation of the social support office Contract with the labor office Attestation of Social Security office Registration in chamber of commerce and industry Tax for advertising Tax for activity exercising Registering cash machine Tax for the building Tax for renting the land Tax for cleaning Opening of bank account and the attestation of the bank Permission of the service of found inspection Hygiene-sanitary permission


Procedures for Business Registration 1- Registration in the tax office
For Individuals ( Persons) After registration in the Trade Register the natural persons should present a request for registration in the local tax office. Within 10 days the local tax office should give the tax certification and the fiscal code. For Legal Persons After registration in the Trade Register the legal persons should present a request for registration in the local tax office. Also, they should present the court decision of the company, certificate from the trade register and the bank account. After the verification of all the above documents a one year license and the certificate from NIPT which has the identification number of persons that is needed for VAT payment is provided by the tax office.


2- Re-registration For Individuals ( Persons) The re-registration procedures follow the same procedures as new registration, plus all the last year tax payment documents. For businesses whose activities are performed in non- permanent units, it is not required the bank account certificate. For Legal Persons The old license with two pictures of the company’s managers The full address of the firm The contract with the social security office The contract with the labor office All the tax payment bills of the previous year. The rent payment bill of the previous year. All the permissions of the previous registration should be renewed and submitted The changes in the statute and in the other acts of foundation should be presented after reflected in the trade register.


3- Registration in the Court Persons) For Individuals ( Persons) Natural persons should submit a registration request at the district court.The court within a month should give the answer to the request. After the court’s approval and payment of the register tax, natural persons are registered to the Trade Register. For Legal Persons Persons a) Foundation Act b) Statute (charter) c) Certificate for payment of the initial capital in the bank (in cases of real estate and other in kind contribution, the expert’s report is needed d) Ownership/leasing contract for the place where the company will operate


4- Registration in Trade Register For Individuals ( persons) After the court’s approval and payment of the register tax, natural persons are registered to the Trade Register. For legal persons a) Copy of the court decision for creation of the company b) Contract and the Statute of the Company c) Ownership/leasing contract for the place the company will be operation d) Certificate of the registration tax


INDUSTRIAL AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention which will be a product or a process. In Albania, this patent provides protection to the owner for a limited period, generally 20 years. Patent protection implies that the invention could not be sold or used without the permission of the patent owner. Applications for the registration of trademarks have been on the increase in Albania. Three kinds of trade marks are recognized in Albania: • Deposited Marks • Registered Marks • Regenerated Marks There is a periodical publication of the Albanian Patent and Mark Office which schedules such trademarks. Invention patents are granted by a national office called the General Directorate of Marks and Patents. PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) managed by WIPO provides only an application, which has the same effect as the national application registered in the certain countries. An applier who wants to be protected can apply and can request protection in any country he has need, where were signed the mentioned treaties. According to this Directorate source the Growth rate of the patent applications through the Extension Agreement against the year 2000 is 37%. Currently, the number of patents through the Extension Agreement is 3827 or 984 more than the year 2001. Through the National Route the number of patents is 228, or 108 more than the year 2001. Legal framework The following laws govern the trademark registration and patent procedures: • Law on Industrial Property No. 7819 dated April, 27 1994 and amended by Law No. 8477 dated April 22, 1999 along with the Penal Code, the Civil Code, and Custom Code etc. • Law on “Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits No. 8488 dated May 13, 1999. • Law on Copyright No. 7564 dated 19 May 1992 and amended by Law No. 7923 dated 19 April 1995, by Law No.8594 dated April 6, 2000 and by Law No. 8630 dated July 3, 2000.



Additionally, Albania is a member of and party to: • WIPO treaties: Madrid Agreement - since October 1995 Paris Convention on Industrial Property - since October 1995 Patent Convention on Industrial Property - since October 1995 Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International registration of Marks Berne Convention - since March 1994 Rome Convention (performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting Organizations) - since September 2000 WPPT (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty) - since May 2001 Geneva Convention (Protection of Phonograms producers against unauthorized reproduction) - since March 2000.

• WTO : - Member and signatory of TRIP’s Agreement - since September 2000 • Extension State of EPO (Extension of European Patents Agreement) - since February 1996 • Observer State Status in Administrative Council of EPO. EPO . • Membership of WIPO bodies/treaties under the ratification process: Stockholm Act, Vienna Act of the Hague Agreement for International Registration of Industrial Designs Budapest Treaty of International Protection of Microorganisms for Patent purposes Nice Convention related to International Classification of Goods and Services

The structure and functioning of the banking system is regulated by Law 8269 dated 23 December 1997 “On the Bank of Albania” and Law 8365 dated 2 July 1998. Payments between private individuals and legal entities are considered to be civil law relationships and are subject to the Civil Code (1994). The use of foreign currency is allowed as means of payment in the Republic of Albania. There are no constraints on trading in hard currency. All commercial banks licensed by the Bank of Albania may carry out foreign payments. The Bank of Albania, which is responsible for managing foreign currency is also active in making


international payments. Every local or foreign person may own an unlimited number of accounts in any currency in any bank in the country. The transfer of capital into and out of Albania can be carried out after a formal preliminary approval by the Bank of Albania. (There are some exceptions, specified in the “Regulation for Foreign Currency Activity” No. 63/27.05.1999, Bank of Albania). Transfers and payments abroad can be affected by any commercial bank after the presentation of proper documentation. Large transfers require additional documentation. Individuals entering Albania have to declare any amount in cash or checks over USD 10,000 or its equivalent. Foreign persons can take out of the country, in cash or checks, amounts not exceeding the value declared at the moment of entry. Albanians can take out of the country in cash and traveler’s checks an amount of up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent in other currencies. Albanian businessmen cannot take out of the Country more than USD 25,000 in cash or checks. No one is allowed to take out of the Country more than lek 100,000 per person in Albanian currency unless permitted by the Bank of Albania.



F ree Z ones The Law “No. 8636 dated 06 July 2000 regulates the establishment of free zones and related matters. The law provides for the establishment of free zones near ports and airports or similar zones at the crossroads of international transport routes. The Council of Ministers is charged with determining the areas and boundaries of free zones on a case-by-case basis. It approves the creation of free zones and the economic activities to be performed in them. The national free zones authority is in charge of the administration of the free zones and it licenses interested investors wishing to establish or carry out activities within the free zones. A free zone is defined as a protected area of land or other immovable property which may be either publicly or privately owned. In both cases, the “developer”1 is approved by the Council of Ministers. When the property is public-owned: • the candidates need to go through a bidding procedure, and • the selected “developer” is then i) leased the area by the state for up to 35 years and also has the right to lend it to users of the free zone or

“Developer” according to the law is any licensed natural or legal person who initiates and organizes the establishment and functioning of a Free Zone.


ii) gets the area by concession and has the right to lend it to other users. In the case of private ownership, the developer presents the request to the National Entity of Free Zones after reaching agreement with the owner. Commodities that enter into a free zone from licensed investors as well as related services within the zone are exempted from both custom duties and VAT. Licenses to operate in the Duty Free Zones are approved by the Council of Ministers. National Entity of Free Zones has marked 4 areas for potential free zones: • • • • metallurgical factory area in Elbasan tractor factory area in Tirana Durres Bajza in Shkodra

Industrial Parks Like Free Zones, Industrial Parks play a key role in the attraction of foreign investments. A major project underway in this regard is the Vlora Energy Park (VEP), which is a strategic initiative fulfilling a number of important development objectives. The Park includes 750 hectares of development area in addition to the Vlora Thermal Power Plant and the AMBO Terminal. VEP will also accommodate a broad range of energy-related, manufacturing, logistics, and processing activities. The VEP strategy development objectives are: Provide Albania with a model, modern, integrated industrial development area. Serve as a test bed for proposed institutional reforms in the planning, construction, and management of competitive industrial development zones. Provide the Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (ANIH) with a coherent and attractive product with which to commence international marketing and positioning of Albania as an investment destination. Proposed changes to customs procedures at the Vlora Energy Park will serve as a model for possible reforms of the customs service and its procedures. In particular the proposed adoption of a paperless EDI declaration and clearance procedure will greatly facilitate trade and export activities.


The VEP will provide a supply and servicing base for both the Vlora Thermal Power Station and the AMBO oil pipeline to attract additional investment associated with these facilities. The VEP will create some 6000 jobs during the construction phases and over 8000 direct jobs when it is fully operational. The VEP will raise training and skills levels through an integrated training program and onsite training institutions.


This strategy examines the broad institutional framework required for the successful planning, construction, marketing and administration of the Vlora Energy Park. An executive body, the Vlora Energy Park Authority (VEPA), was constituted to promote and coordinate the development of the park. The required powers of such an authority are discussed and a draft constitution for the establishment of the Vlora Energy Park Authority is set out. Law on Consumer Protection The main objective of Law no. 9135 dated 11/09/1997 “On Consumer Protection” affirms consumers’ basic rights and guarantees the exercise thereof. The purpose of this Law is the protection of health, environment, life and economic interests of the consumer, as well as the establishment of appropriate relations among consumers, producers, sellers and service providers, and the bodies responsible for control and standardization. The law also determines the obligations to use Albanian Language for all kinds of productions and services offered to consumers, arrangement of new relation between consumer and business, legal framework for the establishment of the Supervisor Trade System, the treatment basis of the complains and reimbursement. This Law determines the producer, seller, supplier and service provider, as well as safety standards for goods and services. It also contains provisions relating to labeling, prices, invoices, guarantees, the obligations of advertisers, the duty to provide to the consumer with the necessary information, etc. Finally, the law defines the institutional structures which operates in the area of consumer protection, the obligations of the state administration, and the rights of NGOs in the area. Law on Competition On July 28 th, 2003 the law no.9121 “On the Protection of Competition” was approved by the Albanian Parliament. This law entered into force by December 1st 2003 abrogating the law no.8044 dated 7.12.1995.



The Competition Law No.8044 dated 07.12.1995 applies to all investors, domestic or foreign, private or state-owned, who supply or demand goods, the acquisition or consumption of which is subject to their own free will and initiative. On the basis of this law, every business, consumer or association has the right to complain to the Competition Department regarding any violation of the law. This law represents a deep reform in the field of competition in Albania. Differently from the former law, the law “On the Protection of Competition”, is a pure antitrust law, dealing with the abuse of dominance, the control of concentrations and illegal agreements, such as cartel agreements. The approach in dealing with these issues is the same with the one pursued in European Legislation. The law stipulates the establishment of Competition Authority, as a public entity, independent in performing its tasks, which comprises of the Competition Commission as the decision-taking body and Secretariat with investigative powers. The Authority is entitled to control the application of the law in all the sectors of economy and may take up cases not only upon notification or complaint by undertakings, but also on its own initiative. The Authority is entitled to impose fines, may grant total or partial leniency from the financial penalties, it has the obligation to cooperate with respective regulatory agencies in applying competition law in regulated sectors, etc. The law was approved in 1995 and had not foreseen the subsequent development of the Albanian Economy. The Government has therefore set up a working group to produce a revised anti-trust law in 2003. This law will deal with the abuse of dominance, the control of mergers, and illegal agreements, such as cartels. On the basis of the European experience and in order to meet the commitments of the Government of Albania in the framework of the Stabilization Association Agreement, this draft law will also lay down the basis for the establishment of an Independent Competition Authority to come into existence by 2004. Legal Framework for Public Procurement The legal framework in the field of public procurement is set out in the Law on Public procurements Nr. 7971 dated 26 July 1995. The law aims at promoting efficiency in the use of public funds by ensuring that public procurement procedures are fair, transparent and non-discriminatory. The Public Procurement Agency is the state agency in charge of the co-ordination of the public procurement process. Public procurement contracts are awarded following a public tender procedure. The tender procedures can be open, restricted

(in two phases) or direct. Foreign tenders are subject to the same legal provisions as domestic tenders. An “international open bidding” may be launched to encourage foreign participation. Mechanisms for the settlement of disputes Investors in Albania are entitled to judicial protection of the rights related to their investments. The parties to the dispute may agree to submit disputes for consideration by an arbitration institution. In the event of failure, foreign investors have the right to submit the dispute to an Albanian court or to the Arbitration Court in Tirana. Provisions on domestic and international commercial arbitration are incorporated in the Code of Civil Procedure. In the event of a dispute regarding discrimination, transfer of assets, or indirect expropriation of foreign investment by the Albanian Government, the investor may submit the dispute to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. Albania is in the process of acceding to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration. MEDART – Commercial Arbitration & Mediation The Albanian Commercial Mediation and Arbitration Project is component of the Legal and Juridical Reform Project. The Ministry of Justice is implementing the program with financing from the World Bank. The project goal is to establish independent mediation and arbitration services for the out-of-court settlement of commercial disputes in Albania. MEDART was established on December 30, 2002, based on law no. 8788 dated 07.05.2001 “For-Non-For-Profit Organizations.”





About ANIH The Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (ANIH) was established by the Albanian Government under the law no. 8877 on 04/04/2002 “About the Establishment of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency.” Its Supervisory Board was created on October 2002. The head of the Board is the Minister of Economy. The executive director of ANIH was selected in December 2002, whereas full staffing was completed in April 2002, the same month that this agency became fully operational. This Agency was created by the Albanian Government to promote and increase foreign direct investment in Albania and create a more favorable business environment.
Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency

Foreign Investment Promotion Agency has its own logo. The acronym – ANIH is accompanied with its slogan “Invest Albania.”


ANIH has in its organization structure a department called “Investor’s servicing.” During the first year of its activity, ANIH contacted and assisted more than 60 potential and existing investors. The services the Agency offers can be classified as: Services before the investment decision: • Undertaking direct studies on the sector or the field of concern by looking at: the number of companies already operating in the sector, their success level, production level, the number of other foreign firms present, main competitors, etc. • Making use of the brochure published by ANIH “Start up procedures.” • Information about possible Albanian partners to foreign investors interested in joint ventures and other forms cooperation. of business cooperation


• Information on the business environment in general and on the legislative context and fiscal incentives in particular. • Preparing site visits in country for interested investors. Services during and after the investment • ANIH can function as an intermediary between investors and the public administration, accelerating different procedures. • ANIH can function as an intermediary between foreign investors and domestic investors to realize joint-ventures and other forms of business cooperation. • Building direct contacts with existing investors in order to assess actual problems faced in Albania and transmitting these to the Government to remedy. • Building an extensive database on the Albania economy put in the service of foreign investors. Around 33% of the total foreign firms operating in Albania were assisted by ANIH

The strategy of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency in achieving higher levels of foreign direct investments in Albania for the year 2004 is mainly oriented towards the following: • Focusing on and promoting Albanian comparative advantages to foreign investors • Identifying and promoting sectors that posses investment opportunities • Establishing contacts and relations with foreign and domestic investors • Presenting Albania as a growing new emerging market


Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency
• Image building by the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (ANIH) • Collaborating with other Southeastern Europe FDI agencies to communicate the region’s potential as one market to foreign investors • Targeting international companies and other potential investors through market research and cooperation with Albanian embassies


Please Contact Us at: Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency - ANIH Address: Blv. “Gjergj Fishta”, P. Shallvare, Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 252 886 / 976 Fax: +355 4 222 341 E-mail: Web-site:




STORIES SUCCESS STORIES OF FDI IN ALBANIA KURUM International sh. p. k KURUM International sh.p.k (limited liability) is a Turkish company which operates in metallurgy industry. This company has operates in Turkey and Kosovo (insurance sector) as well. The total number of employees in this company is 530, 37 of them are graduated in different metallurgy branches and 497 of them have previous experiences in the metallurgy sector. For the moment KURUM Int. produces for the Albanian market but the future projects involve the possibility to export which intend the production increase. Contact points: Tel: +355 4 255973 +355 4 221666/187 Fax: +355 4 255974 e-mail:


AMC-Albanian Mobile Communications Albanian Mobile Communications Sh.A. (AMC) a Telecommunication Company in Albania offering telecommunication services to the Albanian customers since 1995. AMC was sold in an international bid, supervised by EBRD, whereas the biggest offer came by COSMOTE-TELENOR Consortium. The Consortium acquired 85% of AMC shares. Since its privatization in 2000, AMC has become a leading private enterprise, not only in Albania, but in the region as well. In the beginning the customer base was 20,000 clients, having the monopoly in the country’s industry. Only few months after, it was offered the prepaid service together with the Customer Care unit. The customer base grew to roughly 100,000 in few months, 400,000 after two years. Now, after more than three years, our customer base has reached beyond 600,000 clients, of prepaid and business postpaid service. AMC investment figures in the last four years have overcome 200 million Euros in technology, maintenance, construction and else. AMC has network coverage of more than 85 percent of the territory and more than 90 percent of the population. The technology is upgraded continuously as requested by EU standards and regulations respecting also the public health and Albanian legislation. AMC employs more than 300 specialized employees. During our work in the last three years, AMC has proven it self as one of the most profitable companies in the region. Contacts: “Gjergj Legisi” str.-Laprake, Tirana, Albania Tel: + 355 4 275 000 • Fax: + 355 4 275 223 E-Mail: •

“Tirana” Beer The company of “Tirana” beer production was established on 1960. It’s a shareholding company with joint capital of ten shareholders. “Tirana” beer production was lunched in the market based on a good tradition in this area in 1961. The “Tirana” beer Company produces and sells beer of Pilsen type, blonde and dark, packaged in glass bottles and barrels. It is prepared by malted barley, water, lupulus, barmy, carbonic gas and alcohol in quantities of 4%. In the climate of evaluation process of the Albanian enterprises for the quality of their products in the International Scale the “Tirana” Beer was the only one, which has won the Gold Trophy “For the quality and the prestige achieved in business” in the International Summit of Quality organized in New York of United States. This was the 17-th edition of this summit, where “Tirana” Beer was the only one from 160 companies of 120 different countries in the beer production area. “Tirana” Beer was rewarded with this trophy for its high quality and its prestige achieved in business through a continuous improvement of contemporary standards of its management. The company has invested 10 millions USD for the diversification which means the use of the last technology of the beer production (year 2003). “Tirana” Beer was already exported since the last year in six states in USA, and is made studies from the company of fiscal framework on neighboring countries to export in these countries as well. Contacts: Address: Rruga e Kavajes, Tirana. Albania Tel/fax: +355 4 235582 E-mail:



SEAMENT Albania Sh.p.K SEAMENT Albania Sh.p.K. is a member of the International Group “Seament Holding” SAL, present in over 20 countries. “Seament Albania” has been operating in Albania since 1994 as an import trading company for European Cement in the Port of Durres, where it has a land terminal with a capacity of 1,000,000 t/year. The imported cement conforms to Albanian Standards P-50 and European Standards of ENV 197-CEM I 42.5R. In March 1997, during the privatization programme of the Government, “Seament Albania” acquired 70% of the “Elbasan Cement Factory” and 70% of the “United Quarries”. In November 1999, Seament Albania bought an additional 7% in “Elbasan Cement Factory” and in December 1999 an additional 16% in “United Quarries”. In July 2000, “Elbasan Cement Factory” won the auction for the privatization of “Fushe Kruja Cement Factory”, currently operating as a clinker grinding facility. Contacts: “Abdyl Frasheri” str. 11/1, Floor 7, Tirana, Albania Tel: + 355 4 243 943 Fax: + 355 4 243 935 E-Mail: URL:

VODAFONE ALBANIA Vodafone Albania celebrated its third anniversary of establishing operations in Albania on 3 August 2004. Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile telecommunications operator, was awarded Albania’s second GSM 900-band mobile phone license on February 8, 2001, having offered the highest bid USD 38 million in an international tender. Vodafone International Holdings BV, participates with 51% of the share capital in Vodafone Albania, while Panafon-Vodafone, Greece’s leading provider of mobile telecommunications has 49%. Vodafone-Albania launched its GSM services in Albania on August 3, 2001. Vodafone Albania, since its August 2001 launch, has managed to cover 85% of the population and 75% of the Albanian territory. Till the end of March 2003, Vodafone’s investment has reached • 65 million. Vodafone managed to build a GSM network and start commercial operations, reaching 100,000 customers within the first four months, and a market share of 38.8% in the first year of operation. Contacts: Zayed Business Center “Sulejman Delvina” str., Tirana, Albania Tel: + 355 4 283 072 Fax: + 355 4 283 334



KPMG – Albania Established in 1996, KPMG Albania Sh.p.k. is part of the network of KPMG offices in Central and Eastern Europe and is a member firm of KPMG International. In 1999, we merged with Boga & Associates, a top Albanian legal firm. The Albanian practice provides a full range of high quality services tailored to meet the needs of both local clients and foreign investors operating in the country. Our services can be divided into the following main functional disciplines: • assurance (auditing and accounting) • management assurance services • financial advisory services • tax consulting • legal services • advice on privatization • performance improvement Our assurance professionals are experienced in adopting international auditing standards in a challenging environment like Albania and are devising related services to help clients manage risk. Our legal professionals are experienced in assisting clients in dealing with a constantly evolving and complex legal environment. In addition, we are a pioneer in the tax profession in a country which has come from a state owned centralized economy and is now opening up to private business with a totally overhauled tax system. KPMG Albania Sh.p.k. has market expertise in highly specialized, regulated industries such as financial institutions, public utilities, telecoms, transportation, food, hotels and non-governmental organizations. KPMG Albania Sh.p.k. is well placed to inform and advise on local business developments, foreign and local investments and ongoing projects financed by the international community. Our Albanian practice is able to keep you abreast of national legislation related to the economy, finance and business development as well as of the drafts of major laws which will affect future decision making. The firm’s booklet, Investment in Albania, and other updates provide comprehensive guidelines for those considering investing or doing business in Albania. Deloitte in Albania Deloitte in Albania Deloitte in Albania is one of our 16 national practices in Central Europe. Our membership in the regional firm allows us to draw on knowledge and expertise from throughout the region. Deloitte Company delivers world-class professional services, including: AUDIT COMPANIES COMPANIES IN ALBANIA

Audit Services: Deloitte Company provides clients with professional advice and assurance on their controls and accounting systems all year round. Deloitte Company understands its clients’ operations, their industry and the issues they face, and this enables us to provide them with relevant advice. The combination of the specialist skills, industry expertise and ongoing investment allows us to anticipate complex business problems for the clients and recommend preventative action. Consulting: Professional services from Consulting are focused on how the clients aim to operate their business model in a rapidly evolving business, regulatory and governance environment. Enterprise Risk Services: Deloitte Company Enterprise Risk Services (ERS) practice is the global leader in helping clients manage risk and uncertainty, from the boardroom to the network.. Deloitte Company provide a broad array of services that allow clients around the world to better measure and manage risk and control, and to enhance the reliability of systems and processes, throughout the enterprise. EU Enlargement: With the European Union expanding from 15 to 25 countries in May 2004, businesses need to be prepared for the impact enlargement will have on them. Deloitte can help by making sure you are fully aware of how accession will impact you by providing an in depth view into the European Union accession. Financial Advisory: For foreign and local national clients Deloitte in Central Europe provides a wide array of specialised advisory and strategic services through our regional Financial Advisory Services (FAS) practice. Deloitte professionals combine internationally honed investment banking skills in the areas of Corporate Finance & Advisory Services, Transaction Services, Forensic Services and Reorganisation Services to ensure the creation, maximisation and preservation of value. Tax & Legal: At Deloitte in Central Europe, the tax practitioners work hard to help our clients increase their bottom line. Deloitte staff does this by delivering a full range of tax services that help minimize the effect of the many taxes our clients face. In addition, to give its clients peace of mind, help them comply with local tax regulations wherever they operate in the world. When disputes arise with the tax authorities, Deloitte staff is there to help deal effectively with these authorities.



Tonucci Studio Legale Tonucci Studio Legale Tonucci is one of the largest independent Italian law firms with substantial experience in international law and in the domestic market. The firm was founded in 1994 by Mario Tonucci, who assembled a dynamic group of experienced lawyers from leading Italian and International law firms. Over the past 9 years, the firm has experienced unprecedented growth and recognition on a national and international level. Legal Business Awards nominated Studio Legale Tonucci for “European Firm of the Year” in 2000 on the basis of its reputation for excellence, innovation and a strong, client-driven business approach. Currently, the firm offers over 170 lawyers in centrally managed offices linked by an up-to-date and sophisticated computer network. Strategic firm locations offer legal services in all major Italian financial and industrial centers and ensure personal and direct assistance to clients with operations involving the United States, EU and Eastern European markets. The firm has chosen to remain independent in order to afford clients maximum fee flexibility and to ensure transparent control of potential conflicts of interest. However, Studio Legale Tonucci maintains relationships with a number of leading independent law firms around the world so as to offer fully-integrated international services to its national and international clients. The law firm has a highly developed practice throughout Central and Eastern Europe and has been involved in several international projects in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Seychelles and Romania. The firm’s client base includes large Italian and multinational corporations as well as financial institutions. The international practice of the firm is significant and growing, and all of the lawyers are selected for their strong international background. Lawyers of the firm have been involved, either as consultant of the purchaser or as advisor of the seller, in many relevant privatisation operations in Albania, as AMC , Banka e Kursimeve, Albtelecom, Albpetrol and Armo , and in several other business transactions and privatisation issues in Eastern Europe and Developing Countries. Studio Legale Tonucci has also acted for governments, private industries and underwriters in relation to offers of securities in privatised companies on both domestic and international capital markets.




The Government of Albania has signed bilateral agreements with many countries in the world related to trade and investment. Following are some of the bilateral agreements that the Government of Albania has signed: Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreements These agreements are intended to create a legal basis for promoting trade in goods and services and lead to broader economic cooperation. According to such agreements, each party will encourage and create favorable conditions for the export or import of goods and services originating from the other party and to accord to them the same treatment it accords its own products or traders. These are not preferential treatment agreements or free trade agreements. Their provisions do not apply to the advantages and privileges granted by either party to neighboring countries to facilitate the development of border trade or to countries with which it has concluded or will conclude in the future an agreement on a customs union or on a free trade zone. Exports and imports of goods and services as well as economic cooperation between parties are to be effected on the basis of contracts concluded in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in the parties between legal and natural persons of the parties. Some of the countries with which Albania has this kind of agreement are: Italy 1989, Turkey 1990, USA 1992, Croatia 1993, Czech Republic 1994, EFTA 1994, Macedonia 1997, France 1998, Uruguay 2000 etc. Taxation Treaties Double Taxation Treaties signed by Albania This kind of agreement is intended to help companies to avoid double taxation. The most used of Albania’s DTTs have been those with Italy and Greece, which have substantial investments in Albania. Avoidance Taxation. Treaties for the Avoidance of Double Taxation. Albania has signed Conventions for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital with many countries, which have priority over Albanian domestic law. BILATERAL BILATERAL AGREEMENTS ON INVESTMENT AREAS

Taxation Double Taxation Treaties signed by Albania

Tax Treaties 1. Tax Treaties in force : 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Treaty with Poland, in effect as from 1 January 1995 Treaty with Rumania, in effect as from 1 January 1995 Treaty with Malaysia, in effect as from 1 January 1995 Treaty with Hungary, in effect as of 1 January 1996 Treaty with Turkey, in effect as from 1 January 1997 Treaty with Czech Republic, in effect as from 1 January 1997 Treaty with Russian Federation, in effect as from 1 January 1998 8. Treaty with Macedonia (FYROM), in effect as from 1 January 1999 9. Treaty with Croatia, in effect as from 1 January 1999 10. Treaty with Italy, in effect as from 1 January 2000 11. Treaty with Bulgaria, in effect as from 1 January 2000 12. Treaty with Sweden, in effect as from 1 January 2000 13. Treaty with Norway, in effect as from 1 January 2000 14. Treaty with Greece, in effect as from 1 January 2001 15. Treaty with Malta, in effect as from 1 January 2001 16. Treaty with Switzerland, in effect as from 1 January 2001 17. Treaty with Moldova, in effect as from 1 January 2004 Treaties signed but not yet in force 18. Treaty with Belgium ratified by Albanian Parliament, April 2003 19. Treaty with France, ratified by Albanian Parliament, April 2003 Treaties Negotiated and initialed at technical level but not yet signed by the Governments’ authorized persons 20. Treaty with Egypt, initialed at Cairo on November 1998 21. Treaty with Netherlands, initialed at Hague on 14 December 2001 22. Treaty with Yugoslavia, initialed in Belgrade on 11 December 2002 23. Treaty with Iran, initialed in Teheran on 22 December 2002


Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements

This kind of agreement is intended to create a legal basis for mutual cooperation in the field of investment. Each party is to encourage and create favorable conditions for investors of the other party in its territory and to accord them and their investments the treatment it accords its own investors and investments. This is not a preferential treatment agreement and the cooperation is to be established on the basis of contractual relations between natural and legal persons of each party.


Date August 1991 October 1991 September 1991 October 1991 June 1992 September 1992 February 1992 March 1993 May 1993 March 1993 October 1993 May 1993 May 1994 April 1994 April 1994 Mars 1994 June 1994 January 1994 June 1995 August 1995 March 1995 April 1995 January 1995 January 1995 January 1996 February 1998 June 1997 October 1997 September 1998 February 1999 October 2002 November 2002 June 2003 December 2003 February 2004 DCM no. 641, approved on 13.12.2002 DCM no 577, approved on 21.08.2003 DCM no 198, approved on 15.04.1999 DCM no 543, approved on 14.11.1994 DCM no 106, approved on 20.02.2003 DCM no 91, approved on 13.02.2003

Greece Germany Italy USA (OPIC) Turkey Switzerland China Austria Croatia Poland Tunisia Egypt Rumania Bulgaria The Netherlands Great Britain Czech Republic Malaysia France Denmark Sweden Russia Israel USA Hungary Macedonia Finland Slovenia Portugal Belgium - Luxemburg Ukraine Serbia and Montenegro Spain South Korea Kosovo (UMNIK) Libya Bosnia and Herzegovina Cyprus Byelorussia Moldavia Iran

Table No. 7: Albania’s BIT-s

Source: Ministry of Economy

Current situation until the full implementation of Free Trade all Free Trade Agreements




list of Banks operating in ALbania 31.12.2003



5 16. PB February 2004

Tirana 1, Tirana 2, Kavaja, Saranda, Bilisht

NCB – National Commercial Bank TB – Tirana Bank AB – Alpha Bank SB – Savings Bank NBG – National Bank of Greece CBA – Credit Bank of Albania IAB – Italian-Albanian Bank ABA – American Bank of Albania CB – Credins Bank UBA – United Bank of Albania Procredit Bank DB - Dardania Bank FIB – First Investment Bank ICB – International Commercial Bank CBG – Commercial Bank of Greece PB - Popular Bank


Law no. 8459, of 11.2.1999 “Amendments to law no. 8306, 14.3.1998 On the Privatisation Strategy for Sectors of Special Importance”. - Law no. 8582, of 23.2.2000, “An addition to law no. 8306, 14.3.1998 On the Privatisation Strategy for Sectors of Special Importance”. - Law no. 8237, of 01.09.1997 “Amendments to law no. 7926, 20.4.1995 On the transformation of state enterprises into commercial companies” - Law no. 7973, of 26.7.1995 “On concessions and participation of private sector into public services and infrastructure”. - Law no. 8329 of 16.4.1998 “Amendments to law no. 7973, 26.7.1995 “On concessions and participation of private sector into public services and infrastructure”. - Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 329, of 12.7.1999 “On tender procedures for strategic investors selection and transferral of state owned stock at commercial companies of specially important sectors”. - Council of Ministers’ Decision no 578, of 8.12.1999 “Amendments to Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 329, 12.7.1999 “On tender procedures for strategic investors selection and transferral of state owned stock at commercial companies of specially important sectors”. - Law no 8618, of 14.6.2000 “On telecommunications in the Republic of Albania” - Law no. 8288, of 18.2.1998 “On the Telecommunications Regulatory Entity”. - Electrical Power Law no. 7962, of 13.7.1995 - Law no. 7970, of 20.7.1995 “On the regulation of electrical power sector”. - Law no. 8102 of 28.3.1996 “On the regulatory framework of power-supply and waste water processing sector”. - Water Reserves Law no. 8093, of 21.3.1996 - Law no. 8450, of 24.2.1999 “On the processing, transport and trade of oil, gas and their sub-products” - Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 571, of 08.12.1999 “Approval of the Policy Development Paper for the water infrastructure sector in the Republic of Albania”. According the procedures, for the implementation of Law No. 8306, date 14.03.1998, for each company which operates in a strategic sector, is prepared a specific law for the company which will be privatized. - Law no. 9127, date 29. 7. 2003 “For some amendments in Law no. 8810, date 17. 5. 2001 “For the determination of the formula’s structure and form of the privatization of Albtelecom s. a.” - Law no. 9117 date, 24. 7. 2003 “For the determination of the formula’s form and structure of the privatization of Armo s. a, Fier” LEGAL FRAMEWORK PRIVATISATION FOR PRIVATISATION

Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 416, date 2. 7. 2004 “Defining the Quantity of the Share Package of the “Albtelecom” s. a, which is offered to Strategic Investors “ Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 417, date 2. 7. 2004 “Evaluation Criteria of Bid Invitations for the Privatization of the “Albtelecom” s. a” Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 418, date 2. 7. 2004 “On the Utilization scale of the revenues from the privatization of “Albtelecom” s. a” Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 420, date 2. 7. 2004 “On the Selection Criteria of Strategic Investors, interested on the purchase of “Armo” s. a shares, Fier” Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 421, date 2. 7. 2004 “On the way of utilization of revenues from the privatization of “Armo” s. a, Fier” Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 426, date 2. 7. 2004 “Evaluation Criteria of Bid Invitations for the privatization of “Armo” s. a, Fier” Council of Ministers’ Decision no. 428, date 2. 7. 2004 “On the transfer way of the package with remained shares of “Albtelecom” s. a, after the transfer of the package to strategic investors, “Albpost, SHA, ex-owners of the land and the workers of “Albtelecom” s. a”. Companies Union Carbide ILVA, S.p.a./Technic I,T,S. Group (Acciaierie Venete) Consiadar Europa A.W.T. Marc Rich+Co. A.G./Sot Glencore International A.G. Sumitomo Corporation B.S.E.-Essen, GmbH Macalloy Corporation Fucinati Preussag Acciaierie Venete Kinglor s.r.l. Ribinkco, s.a. Nebex Karma Rayla Roads Acquarter & Descat Triacom Hayri Ogelman Madencilik Metal Research Group L.T.D. Darfo Tesara Ben Oner Country USA Italy Italy Belgium Austria International A.G. United Kongdom Japan Germany United Kingdom Italy Germany Italy Italy United Kingdom Canada Canada Italy Germany Turkey Canada/USA Italy Italy Turkey


Current FDI in selected sectors

Years Years of establishment 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1993 1993 1995-1996 1995-1996 1997-1998 1997-1998 1995-1998 1996-1998 1996-1998 1997 1995-1999 1999 1999-2000 1999-2000 2000

Table no. 2. Foreign companies in mining, 1992-2000

* Note: The list includes the sector of Oil and LPG companies Source: Agency for Development Promotion in Albania


Table no. 3. FDI in energy

Source: Ministry of Industry and Energy

Table no. 5. FDI in the transport sector, 1992 - 2003

Source: Ministry of Transports and Telecommunications

USEFUL POINTS OF CONTACTS CONTACTS Promotion Albanian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency – ANIH Address: Blvd “Gjergj Fishta”, Pallatet e Shallvareve Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 252 886 / 976 Fax: +355 4 222 341 E-mail: Web-site: Promotion Albanian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency Address: Blvd “Gjergj Fishta”, Pallatet e Shallvareve Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 254 316 Promotion Albanian Export Promotion Agency Address: Blvd “Gjergj Fishta”, Pallatet e Shallvareve Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 247 628 Tel / Fax: +355 4 247 633 Ministry of Economy Address: Bulevardi “Zhan D’Ark”, No 3 Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 364 610 / 362 504 Fax: +355 4 222 655 / 364 658 Web-site: Banka Bank of Albania / Banka e Shqiperise Address: Sheshi “Skenderbej”, No 1 Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 222 152 Fax: +355 4 223 558 E-mail: Web-site: Gjykata Companies Registry - Tirana Court – Gjykata e Tiranes Address: Bulevardi “Gjergj Fishta” Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 22 89 09 +355 4 22 89 06 Foreign Investors Association of Albania – FIAA Address: Blvd. “Zogu i Pare” Tirana Business Center, Suite 20 Prane “Zerit te Popullit” Tirana, Albania Tel: +355 4 256 296 / 7 / 8 (120) Fax: +355 4 256 291 Mobile: 069 20 34 469 E-mail: Web-site:




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