The construction industry has accounted for between five and eight percent of annual GDP for more than a decade. According to data compiled from building materials manufacturers, building construction continued to increase rapidly from 2006–2016 but slowed dramatically in 2017. While the industry began to show signs of improvement in 2018-2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in early 2020, the flow of activities and payments in the country’s construction industry again slowed. Turnover in this sector was about $600 million in 2021, compared to $580 million in 2020, $714 million in 2019, and $846 million in 2018, almost 30 percent of which was spent on imported products, equipment, and fixtures. For their equipment and machines, local construction companies rely on brands such as MAN, Magirus, Raba, FAP, Kraz, Marini, Rubber, Komatsu, Caterpillar, and others. According to data from the Association of Construction, Building Materials, and Non-Metal Industries in 2021, the construction sector encompassed between six to seven percent of the total number of active business entities and employed eleven percent of total employees in the country.
There are both export and investment opportunities available for U.S. companies in the construction and building materials sector. Buildings in North Macedonia are energy inefficient and take a relatively long time to build. New construction is required to meet strict seismic construction requirements, particularly in Skopje, the country’s most active seismic zone. Wood and steel frame buildings are almost completely unused, though builders in North Macedonia are exploring American-style platform-frame wood construction and prefabricated housing. This situation offers many opportunities to promote high-tech American building materials based on advanced U.S. technology. U.S. building products that may have good market prospects include wood and vinyl windows, doors, flooring and kitchen cabinets, suspended ceilings, insulation, adhesives, cements, roofing shingles, heating and ventilation equipment, air conditioning, refrigeration, and cooling systems. The domestic market in North Macedonia offers primarily cement, cement products, and gypsum products. Companies interested in investing in construction and infrastructure need to be aware that North Macedonia is seismically active, especially in the capital of Skopje, and therefore has strict earthquake standards.