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Bekteshi-Duran meeting: UNCTAD pledges to help N. Macedonia accelerate development

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North Macedonia got an offer from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to utilize the opportunities of the Program for science, technologies and innovations to help the national capacities contribute to the development and higher productivity of economy.

This was the keynote of the meeting between Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, and Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, Isabelle Durant.

Economy Minister Bekteshi spearheads North Macedonia’s delegation to the second Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 2003.

At the meeting, Bekteshi briefed Durant about the ongoing reform drive and improvement of business climate in the country. A main emphasis was placed on the Prespa accord that solved the perennial dispute with Greece, the regional cooperation, and the process of integration into the EU and NATO.

Besides the meeting with Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, while in Geneva Minister Bekteshi will hold meetings with Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, and Ambassador Dagfinn Sorli, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and EFTA.

North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 4 April 2003.

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Economy

Germany plans to double taxes on short-haul flights

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Berlin plans to nearly double taxes on short-haul flights under Germany’s emissions cutting programme, an official at the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

The bigger than expected tax hikes form part of a climate package in Germany aimed making the country carbon neutral by the year 2050 and are accompanied by measures to promote public transport use.

Climate activists and industry groups had criticized the plans as not going far enough to achieve Germany’s 2050 emissions goal.

The tax on domestic and intra-European flights is likely to rise to 13.03 euros from 7.50 euros, while for medium-haul flights it would rise to 33.01 euros from 23.43 and for long-haul flights to 59.43 from 42.18 euros.

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Economy

Government approves financial aid for 170 companies through economic growth plan

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The government endorsed a report on conclusion of contracts awarding financial assistance to 170 companies, including companies from commercial-industrial zones and one from the diaspora, through programs set out in the Economic Development Plan.

Prior to awarding financial assistance, the authorities assessed the investments in 2018 in terms of investments in purchase of new machinery and equipment, and investments in facilities and land.

The financial aid, provided through the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion, has been granted for completed initial or additional investments. The funds for this purpose are foreseen in the 2019 Budget.

The total value of investments in these 170 companies amounts EUR230 million, adding 4.577 jobs to the labor market, of which, 2.117 jobs were registered in 2018.

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Economy

Adria Airways files for bankruptcy, all flights canceled

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Slovenia’s airline Adria Airways has filed for bankruptcy and canceled all flights, it said in a statement on Monday, after financial problems forced it to ground most of its planes over the last week.

“Bankruptcy proceedings were initiated by the management of the company because of the company’s insolvency,” Adria, which is owned by German investment firm 4K Invest, said.

Adria is the latest in a long line of small European airlines to run into financial trouble amid industry overcapacity, cut-throat competition and high fuel prices.

Since last Tuesday Adria has canceled more than 400 flights affecting more than 15,000 passengers.

Slovenia’s Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek said earlier on Monday the government was considering establishing a new airline company to improve the country’s international connections. Adria’s collapse was very damaging to Slovenia’s economy and tourism industry, the minister said.

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