North Macedonia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2003. As a WTO member, North Macedonia has committed itself to the three basic rules of trade conduct: transparency in laws, equal rights and privileges for foreign and domestic firms and citizens, and most-favored nation treatment. As an EU candidate, North Macedonia continues to harmonize its customs’ laws with EU laws and regulations.
Customs duties generally apply to most products imported into North Macedonia. Preferential tariffs apply to countries with which North Macedonia has signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, as well as to countries participating in multilateral trade agreements, such as the EU Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), and Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). Customs tariffs in 2020 ranged from 0–35 percent. Customs tariffs are revised and amended on an annual basis, in conformity with the amendments to the Combined Nomenclature of the European Union. Amendments refer to the system of designations of the goods, system of numeric marking, unit prices, as well as notes concerning particular sections and chapters. Customs duties are determined by the Customs Tariff Law (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia No. 23/2003, 69/2004, 10/2008, 35/2010, 11/2012, 93/2013, 44/2015 and 81/2015). Details on customs tariffs are available se the Customs Administration’s website.
There are no tariffs applied on most raw materials. Excise duties apply to alcohol, cigarettes, mineral oils, tobacco, petroleum coke, and passenger vehicles. Excise duties are determined by the type and quantity of the product and are levied in addition to the customs tariff. The customs tariff on new and used automobiles is five percent. However, there is no tariff on automobiles produced in EU countries. Likewise, there are no duties for industrial products originating from EU, EFTA, CEFTA countries, Turkey and Ukraine. There are variable levies for agricultural and food products. Other products, like tobacco, wine, and various fruits, are subject to import tariff quotas. Import quotas are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and are distributed at the single window portal, EXIM.
A value-added tax (VAT) of 18 percent is applied to most products and services. Food; potable bottled water; some printed materials such as newspapers, magazines, and educational books; raw materials and machinery for agriculture production; medicines; medical and orthopedic equipment; public transportation; computer hardware and software; solar energy systems; refined and unrefined oils for industrial use and for foodstuffs for human consumption; pellet stoves and boilers; electricity; and heating are taxed at a preferential rate of 5 percent. For imports into North Macedonia, VAT is assessed on the customs value of the goods plus the customs duty and excises.