Stip export boom
Since 2001, when Macedonia signed the SAA agreement with EU as the first country in the Western Balkans, exports into the EU have been rising at a rate of almost 27 per cent per annum from 239 million USD to 486 million USD in 2004. According to the regional customs office of Stip, the export has been rising from year to year without interrupt and reached in 2005 a level of 207 million Euros in the Eastern Macedonian region around Stip. Stip's entrepreneurs formed an independent association of producers. The number of jobs has increased by more than 3,000 since 2002.
Table: Employment in Stip 1990 – 2006
Year Employees Textile sector
1990 20,300 ca. 8,700
2002 13,800 ca. 4,000
2006 17,500 ca. 7,000
The customs terminal of Stip now acts like an outpost of the European market. From here the products go directly into the warehouses of customers in the Netherlands, Germany or Switzerland. Smaller companies have emerged that offer specialized services, such as printing sized blueprints or Computer Aided Design and cutting.
A Greek investor relocated his wool spinning plant into the empty halls of Makedonka. A Turkish investor has bought the former denim plant of Makedonka. Two German investors have started to produce their own clothes in Stip in 2005 shifting from intermediary and logistical function to immediate full package of services. A Swiss investor is in the phase of relocating his production from Portugal to Stip. Four foreign logistic and intermediary organisations have opened logistic centers.