H.E. Lilian Darii AmbasSador of the Republic of Moldova

an introduction to Discover Moldova’s History and its Traditions

I was recently accredited as Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and my aim is to maintain and develop as much as possible the relations with these countries at all levels and at the same time — to make Moldova better known in the area. My country is independent since 1991. With a rich history tracing back to ancient times, the Republic of Moldova is home to traditions, culture, diverse, authentic tasty food, natural products, generous and welcoming people.

On the territory of the Republic of Moldova one can find a special concentration of historical and archeological monuments which have a cultural and historical value not only at the national level, but also in the general context of human European values. For those never visiting Moldova, it is a country of colours, with hot summers, cold snowy winters, colourful springs and flavoured autumns.

Relatively small, the Republic of Moldova is at the crossroads of routes that shaped modern Europe, creating the perfect balance between geoghraphical and cultural East and West. Home to a population of 3,5 million people, Moldova is a harmonious place for diverse cultures, being the area settled by many people throughout history, resulting in a rich mix of cultural, religious, architectural, and culinary traditions.

Inviting culture

What is so special about Moldova? It’s undeniable the people! You will find them genuine, friendly and warm, especially when going to the countryside.

If you are thinking about safety, Moldova is a safe country to travel an is an ideal place for tourists who want to have a short escape from the typical European cities and considering that it doesn’t take long to travel to every corner of Moldova, one can fully enjoy everything we have to offer. And you know an important detail? Moldova is amongst the countries with fastest speed of mobile internet in the world.

The Republic of Moldova has a rich cultural heritage which may be of great interest to tourists, approximately 140 cultural heritage sites may be included in the tourist circuit. The earliest visible remains of the built heritage are Geto-Dacian sites and Roman fortifications. The remains of medieval fortresses, archaeological complexes such as Orheiul Vechi, cave monasteries, nobles’ mansions and peasant houses offer a diversity of visitor attractions. Chișinău, the capital city, features a good number of cultural heritage monuments, fine examples of Domestic architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Wine making with passion

Did you know that Moldova has two of the biggest wineries in the world? The cellars of the „Milestii Mici“ Winery were registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest wine collection in the world, with a collection of 1.5 million bottles. The bottles are stored in 55 km of underground galleries. The first bottle was stored in 1968, and new vintages are added each year.

The Wine cellars of „Cricova“ Wine Company are known worldwide due to its huge labyrinths, exceeding 120 km in length.

Over the centuries Moldova has gained rich traditions of growing grapes and wine production. If you look on the map, Moldova is shaped as a bunch of grapes situated between Ukraine and Romania, in the Black Sea basin, where the vine originates.

The country has a fragmented relief, with low hills, sunny plateaus and plains, crossed by a lot of streams which flow into the two big rivers, Prut and Dniester. Moldova has 112 thousand hectares of vineyard and 3 historical wine regions: Valul lui Traian, Stefan Voda and Codru. There are 142 wineries in the Republic of Moldova, of which 23 have facilities to receive visitors. Here tourists can experience and learn about the complex production processes. It is amazing to enter in those underground cellars looking actually like towns (!), with a length of more than 100 km with wine storage facilities, wine processing factories, production processes of sparkling wine, red, white, rose wines, divin, heres, etc. To celebrate Moldova’s rich winemaking traditions, which date back to the 15th century, each year, during the first weekend in October at the end of the grape harvest, in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau, takes place the wine festival, officially named „National Wine Day“.

Culture and art — the unknown jewels. UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity

The Republic of Moldova has 87 museums with rich collections of art. The folklore has a strong basis of Dacian-Latin origin and its customs are specifically defined by means of music and dance, oral poetry and prose, mythology, rites, popular theatre. There are over 880 folk music groups in the Republic of Moldova, 22 theatres.

Carpets are considered works of art in Moldova, representing an expression of national creativity and identity. The carpet weaving technique from Romania and Moldova is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage starting December 1st, 2016.

I am very proud to say that the tradition of „Mărțișor“ is of particular significance in Moldova. „Mărţişor“ is called the March month, but it is also a symbolic object representing two threads of wool — one white and the other red, twisted together, tied as a talisman to the neck, hands or to the coat of people. „Mărţişor“ is being made on the eve of the feast, and on the 1st of March they are offered as a gift, with wishes of health and happiness.The „Mărţişor“ feast is an example of cultural vivacity of a long-standing tradition. The symbol of the „Mărţişor“ is made every spring, worn until the first messengers of spring — the flowering trees or the first storks. „Mărţişor“ symbol is a part of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity.

Dance a hora in Moldova

Moldovans widely celebrate traditional music and dance. There are hundreds of songs following the tempo of traditional dances such as „hora“ and „sîrba“. Dances are typically performed in a circle with the dancers holding hands or linking arms while dancing in a counter clockwise direction.

Renowned National Academic Ensemble of Folk Dance „Joc“ is the oldest folk dance ensemble of Moldova, created in Chișinău in August 1945.

Over the years, the ensemble of dances has participated in more than seven thousand concerts and international festivals, being awarded several medals and diplomas, among them the 1st place at the 4th World Festival of Youth and Students of 1953.

Towards a future in the European family

Aiming at the membership of the EU and identifiying itself with European values, the Republic of Moldova is on a way of gradualy and surely advancing on a path of ambitious reforms in line with its national objective of European integration.

To this end, we have a very important roadmap in the form of the provisions set out in the Association Agreement with the EU (signed in 2014). This important cooperation mechanism with the EU provides the Republic of Moldova with needed instruments on the path of advancing with ambitious set of reforms aimed at transformation and modernization of the country.

It is important to note that due to successful armonization of legislation and as a result of the implemented reforms, the Republic of Moldova gets closer to political, economic and cultural European space. At the same time, Moldovan market is opening even more for European partners and vice versa. In this regard, for us, as a diplomatic mission abroad it is of utmost significance to built connections amongst people from Moldova and EU countries as well as to make Moldovan products known on the European market.

We value the special relation we have established with EU as a whole and individually EU member states on the political, social, cultural and economic dimension.

As an indicator of the signifcance of partnership with the EU, we can mention that in the beginning of the implementation of the Association agreement, EU become the most important economic partner of Moldova. 68,5% of the exports are directed to the EU countries and 51% of the imports are generated by the EU member states (data for January-June 2018).

Following a determined path of European integration, the Government of the Republic of Moldova looks and works towards a future in the family of the European Union. Sharing the history and European values, Moldova is aiming at a future aligned with its European partners and friends.

Land of business opportunities

Home to fertile and rich soil, the Republic of Moldova is well known for its tasty agricultural products as well as wine production. Strategic geographical positioning of the Republic of Moldova, transforms the country into a bridge between East and West. In the Global Location Trends Report 2017 Moldova ranks number six in the world in terms of the number of jobs created in relation to the population, reaching the newest destination for emerging investments.

The Republic of Moldova meets incredible conditions for doing business. Still an unknown place for investments and growing a business, Moldova offers a competitive environment. To capitalize on its strategic geographical position, over the last few years, the Government of the Republic of Moldova has stepped up its regional integration efforts, promoting an open economic policy. Thus, the legal framework has been strengthened, several laws on the regulation of foreign trade, competition, protection of industrial property rights, etc. have been adopted.

According to the „Doing Business 2018“ report, Moldova is positioned 44th out of 190 analyzed economies. We have succeeded in significantly increasing starting a business, protecting minority investors and registering property. At the same time, we have good results in the field of paying taxes (heading 32) and cross-border trade (heading 35).

In April 2016, the National Strategy for Investment Attraction and Export Promotion for the period 2016-2020 was approved and seven priority economic sectors were set up at national level: the information and communication sector, manufacture of machinery and equipment (automotive), administrative and support service activities, manufacture of machinery and parts, manufacture of textiles, clothing and footwear, electrical equipment and food and agriculture. The existence of major investment projects and the expected flow of new strategic investments contributed to the Government taking additional actions to protect investors. In this context, the Council for the promotion of projects of national importance, chaired by the Prime Minister, was created. The main aim of the Council is to ensure the beneficial realization in the Republic of Moldova of investment projects of national importance, which influence the country’s economy and ensure a stable social and economic development of Moldova.

Free trade agreements — a solid basis for businesses

The Republic of Moldova has signed free trade agreements with the EU, CIS and Turkey (in force since 1 November 2016) and is a member of the Central Free Trade Agreement CEFTA (since 2007) and World Trade Organization (WTO), which allows the companies operating in Moldova to access almost 1 billion potential consumers.

Moldova has signed bilateral trade-economic cooperation agreements with 30 countries, bilateral agreements on mutual promotion and protection of investments — with 44 countries, bilateral agreements to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion — with 49 countries.

At the moment, Moldova is in an active process of negotiations on the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the People’s Republic of China.

It is important to mention that the legislative provisions adopted by Moldovan authorities are in line with the international legal framework, especially with those of the European Union. This process will continue, as the harmonization of legislation is the key to success in implementing DCFTA commitments. Signed and ratified, the agreement involves liberalizing trade in goods and services, free movement of labor, lower taxes, reduction of technical and non-tariff barriers, abolition of quantitative restrictions and harmonization of Moldovan legislation with the EU.

Tax system

The Republic of Moldova has one of the most competitive tax systems in the region. From this perspective, there are 49 operational tax treaties on avoiding double taxation with other jurisdictions. The general Corporate Income Tax rate is 12%, Value Added Tax is 20% and Social Security Contributions of 23%. It should be noted that corporate tax may be reduced by half or more if a company is resident in the Free Economic Zone. There are other incentives for businesses worth mentioning: there is no minimum capital requirement at the start of the business; incentives for IT employment — partial exemption from income tax and reduced social contribution; employers will not pay taxes on the amounts spent on food, transportation and employee training; companies importing raw materials receive a holiday for VAT and customs duty if they subsequently export the final product within 180 days.

Free Economic Zones — open doors for investments

One of the attractive features of the Republic of Moldova’s economy are the opportunities for the foreign investors offered by the Free Economic Zones, Industrial Parks and IT Parks — which are an innovation for the Republic of Moldova. Free Economic Zones are parts of the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova, economically separated, strictly delimited on their entire perimeter, which allow certain types of preferential business activities for domestic and foreign companies. Currently, Moldova has 7 Free Economic Zones, being allocated proportionally in the north, central and southern parts of the country.

At the same time, the Republic of Moldova also has the Giurgiulesti International Free Port (the southern region), as well as the Free International Airport „Marculesti“ (Floresti, the northern region), both of which have legal status almost similar to the free economic zones.

The FEZ are known for the facilities they offer: the income tax imposed on residents‘ incomes is paid 50% of the rate established in the Republic of Moldova; companies are exempt from income tax for 3 years if they invest
$ 1 million and are exempt for 5 years if they invest
$ 5 million; goods imported into/exported from free economic zones are: exempt from import and export duties (customs duties); are exempt from excise duty; a zero rate of value added tax is applied. An important aspect is that the delivery of the goods to the free economic zones in the other parts of the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova are treated as exports.

Industrial Park

Another industrial platform offering a series of opportunities is the Industrial Park — a relatively new tool for Moldova, created in 2011. 10 projects have been launched for the creation and development of industrial parks in the northern, central and southern parts of the country: „Tracom“ in Chisinau city, „Bionergagro“ in Drochia city, „Cimislia“ in Cimislia city, „Raut“ in Bălţi city, „CAAN“ in Străşeni city, „Edineţ“ in Edineţ city, „Cavi Triveneta Divelopment“ in Străşeni city, „Comrat“ in Comrat city, „Durlesti“ in Durleşti city, and „Cahul“ in Cahul city. It is worth mentioning the Moldova IT park concept which represents an attractive environment for IT businesses — a consolidated single tax of 7% for residents. The IT Park provides an organizational platform with a set of innovative mechanisms and incentives for the IT industry, as well as a predictable and motivating regulatory framework to facilitate IT business management. The first IT Park „Tekwill“ established in Chisinau, comprises 100 resident companies with a turnover of over 1 billion lei. This mechanism has laid the foundation for a competitive IT industry in our country creating prerequisites for emigrated professionals and companies to return to the country producing jobs with competitive salaries. At the moment, there is envisaged a launching of 2 other IT Parks, in the northern and southern regions of the country.

Economic diplomacy and trade missions abroad Building connections

As important instruments that contribute to attract foreign investments and promote the exports of our country Moldovan authorities are focusing on economic diplomacy and trade missions abroad. Currently, the Republic of Moldova has 11 Trade Offices established in Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

Government priorities for 2018 — open economy creating opportunities

The Government of the Republic of Moldova is building on the efforts to create better conditions for business development by setting out as objectives 1) Improvement of the country’s road infrastructure, including road reparations/constructions; 2) Implementation of the DCFTA; signing the Free trade agreement (FTA) with China and FTA with EFTA (Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland); 3) Strengthening the country’s energy security — Ungheni gas pipeline — Chisinau; Security of power supply / diversification of supply sources; Energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources; 4) Bringing investments — IT parks, IT industry development; promoting tourism and economic diplomacy; 5) Conducting regulatory reforms; 6) Improving communications systems — access to network; 112 operationalization; Universal postal services.

Moldovan Government is also advancing in creating attractive business conditions, being achieved thanks to the implementation of reforms in entrepreneurship activity.

Among the most important is the Regulatory Reform 2016-2017, which aims to optimize permissive acts and to implement the One Stop Shop solutions.

Revision and optimization of permissive acts will contribute to the „Business: With Clear Rules“ objective of the Moldova 2020 National Development Strategy. Another priority is the launch of the One Stop Shop for the management and release of permissive acts, assuming the full functionality of the information system and the issuing of at least 30% of the total number of permissive documents in 2018 based on the one-stop shop.

Another important reform is the Reform of the state control of the entrepreneurial activity, which provides:

Optimization of the number of institutions with control functions to 13 control bodies (under Government), and 5 independent regulators. Procedural reform involving minimum documents, maximum transparency and rights for entrepreneurs.

The digitization of the control processes, which provides for the establishment of the State Register of Single Controls, transparency and predictability of the inspector’s actions. Another important component of the reform of entrepreneurial activity is the simplification of the financial and statistical reporting process by developing and launching a unique reporting platform at the State Tax Inspectorate, the National Social Insurance House, the National Insurance Company in Medicine and the National Bureau of Statistics. It is also about setting up a Single Report.

Golden Visa Package — become a citizen of Moldova

An interesting fact is that the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the Regulation on Obtaining of Citizenship through Investment (Golden Visa Package), which regulates the minimum value and the way of contributing to the Public Investment Fund for Sustainable Development and Investment in one of the strategic development areas of the Republic of Moldova. Citizenship of the Republic of Moldova may be granted, upon request, to a foreign citizen or stateless person who knows and complies with the provisions of the Constitution, has good economic and financial reputation, presents no danger or risk to public order and state security, pays contributions to the Public Investment Fund sustainable development or has made investments in strategic development areas for 60 months.

DEAR FUTURE GUESTS, DO NOT FORGET THE UNDENIABLE ADVANTAGES OF VISITING AND DOING BUSSINESS IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

For those who have never visited Moldova I warmly extend this invitation to start the journey of discovery! At the same time, those who already had the opportunity to visit Moldova, we will be glad to welcome you again in the future !