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.
Data as of April 1992