Activities of Foreign Companies in Albania

Activities of Foreign Companies in Albania

Albania's 1976 constitution specifically prohibited joint ventures between Albanian enterprises and foreign firms. However, the severe economic crisis of the early 1990s persuaded the government to create a rudimentary framework for regulating the business activities of foreign firms on Albanian soil. Decrees were issued providing for investment protection and the creation of joint ventures between Albanian and foreign companies. At least in theory, the August 1991 law on economic activity allowed foreign companies to repatriate, in foreign currency, accumulated capital and profits from economic activities. More than two dozen foreign companies had already signed joint-venture contracts by August 1991. Almost half of the joint ventures involved small investments in shoe and textile manufacturing, fishing, retail trade, tourism, and construction. Foreign petroleum companies also signed agreements to explore for petroleum reserves beneath the Adriatic Sea. Other potential investors came from Italy and Greece, the Albanian émigré community in the West, and Kosovo's community of ethnic Albanians.

In October 1991, Albania joined the IMF and afterward worked to secure the IMF standby credit agreement prerequisite to receipt of credits from the World Bank and other international institutions. Albania also became a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a part of the World Bank Group; signed bilateral trade accords and foreign-investment protection agreements with Italy, Germany, Greece, and Turkey; and signed an agreement with the Overseas Private Insurance Corporation, which insures foreign investments by United States companies. Greek businessmen also began operating clothing and yarn factories, and Greek firms signed agreements to transport natural gas as well as contracts for road construction, machinery sales, and shipping. Albania also signed import-credit arrangements with Turkey, which agreed to give Albania technical assistance in banking and other areas.

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