Trade with FYROM in the red in Q1

Greece’s trade balance with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) moved for the first time into the red in the first quarter of 2005, according to data from the trade relations office of the Greek Embassy in Skopje. The development is largely due to the growth of exports back home of Greek clothing firms which have set up shop in the neighboring country in recent years, attracted by the much lower labor costs. FYROM’s exports to Greece were up 39.5 percent in the first quarter, year-on-year, to $73.53 million, while the reverse trade flow rose only by a meager 1.5 percent to $65.96 million. Apart from clothes, FYROM’s hefty rise in exports to Greece during the period also included live animals, marble and minerals. The directly invested capital by Greek firms in FYROM totals 800 million euros, exceeding that from any other country. It accounts for about 20,000 jobs.