Identify common practices a company needs to be aware of when selling in your market.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
After the uncertainties of the 1990s, the Moldovan advertising industry has grown significantly, spurred by higher consumption made possible by remittances from the many Moldovans working abroad. Both consumers and companies have begun to appreciate the effectiveness of advertising and the importance of marketing products.
Moldova passed a law on advertising in 1997 that set out advertising standards and rules. All forms of media are widely used (television, newspapers, magazines, radio, outdoor billboards, and the Internet). However, recent studies show that television and the Internet are the most actively used media for advertising, leaving old media such as radio or printed media trailing behind. Several international advertising agencies have representatives in Chisinau, including Ogilvy and Publicis Media. Moldova prohibits foreign channels, rebroadcasted through cable networks from carrying local advertising.
Major media outlets in Moldova include:
- Prime TV
- Moldova 1v
- Jurnal TV
- RTR Moldova
- NTV Moldova
- Pro TV
- Ziarul de Garda
- Komsomolskaia Pravda Moldova
National trade shows and exhibitions continue to be an effective way to introduce products to local buyers. MoldExpo (http://moldexpo.md) is the prime venue for the largest trade shows organized in Moldova.
Moldovans are, in general, price-sensitive and attracted to bargains. Nevertheless, high-end products with higher quality may command higher prices and attract status-conscious consumers with financial means. The public is likely to recognize small price differences among various brands. Moldova has been experiencing growing retail and higher imports in recent years. U.S. companies should expect competition from third countries. High-priced items, such as automobiles or apartments, which were traditionally priced and paid for in dollars, have started to be denominated in Euros.
With a few exceptions, a 20 percent value-added tax applies (VAT) to products sold in Moldova. In addition to VAT, imported products are also subject to customs duties and in some instances to excises. Imports from the CIS and Central European Free Trade Area are usually duty free.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Customer support and after-sale service are weaknesses for the vast majority of Moldovan firms. Despite legislation that protects consumers, stores do not readily accept the return of purchased items by customers. The situation is somewhat different for big-ticket items that are usually covered by warranty periods. Firms selling capital equipment or technology should emphasize customer service, product quality, and training for the operation of such equipment and technology.
Principal Business Associations
Navigating Moldova’s business environment without legal and financial advice may be more expensive than hiring the services of law and accounting firms. Several major Western consulting firms have offices in Moldova. Local law firms can also provide high-quality services. Contacting the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova is also a good start.
- American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova
- Moldovan Association of Advertising Agencies
- Moldovan Banks Association
- Moldovan Bankers League
- Moldovan Association of ICT Companies
- Moldovan Association of Professional Accountants and Auditors
- International Road Transporters Association of Moldova
- Foreign Investors Association
- European Business Association
- Alliance of Small Enterprises from Moldova
- Moldovan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
There are no absolute restrictions on U.S. products or services in Moldova, while the legislation does not limit certain areas of business exclusively to Moldovan citizens or a subset of the population. Applicable legislation may require companies to get registrations, certifications, authorizations and various approvals depending on the type of product or business activity. Pharmaceutical products, medical devices, food products, additives, electronic appliances, firearms, explosives, radioactive materials, banking, etc. are but a few that are subject to regulation. Certain types of business activity also require business licensing