Free Economic Zones

Moldova has designated areas where domestic and foreign investors can carry out entrepreneurial activities under preferential terms and conditions (i.e. favourable tax, customs and other regimes).
These designated areas are the Free Economic Zones (FEZ) and Industrial Parks (IP).
Free Economic Zones

FEZ are parts of the Moldovan customs territory, separate from the economic perspective, in which local and foreign investors may carry out entrepreneurial activities under a preferential regime, i.e. benefiting from special guarantees and facilities (tax, customs, regulatory, immigration, etc.).

FEZ are created for a period of at least 20 years. Moldova currently has seven FEZ, established between 1996 and 2011, located all over the country’s regions. There is also an international free port (South) and airport (North-East), with status similar to FEZ.

FEZ residents should be registered in Moldova (legal entities with local, mixed or foreign capital) and are selected by FEZ Administration, based on the investment amount and type, infrastructure available / to be created, type of activities to be carried out, etc.

The following types of activities may be carried out in FEZ:

  • Industrial production of goods for export (apart from ethylic alcohol and alcohol products);
  • Sorting, packing, labelling and other similar operations for goods which transit through Moldovan customs territory;
  • Other auxiliary activities necessary for the basic activities above (e.g. utility services, warehousing, construction, catering etc.);
  • External commercial activity (i.e. wholesale of goods imported into FEZ outside Moldova and offered for export).

Each type of activity within FEZ is subject to a separate time-limited authorisation issued by FEZ Administration.

Investments within Free Economic Zones in Moldova now total up to USD 197.9 million, with USD 28.5 million being invested in 2013 (an increase of 14.6% from 2012). As of 1 January 2014, 158 residents were registered in the seven Free Economic Zones. The number of employees working in the FEZ as at the end of 2013 amounted to 6,896 people, an increase of 5.9% from the number in 2012.
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FEZ “Expo-Business-Chisinau” operates in Chisinau, for the period 1995 - 2025. Area managed as free zone – 23.6 ha (the land is used 100%). In 2013 it had 41 registered residents from 14 countries. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 53.9 million.

FEZ “Balti” operates near Balti City, in the northern part of the country. It was created in 2010 for a period of 25 years. FEZ “Balti” is composed of four areas: subzone 1 (2.02 ha), subzone 2 (10.35 ha), subzone 3 (110 ha) and subzone 4 (12 ha). In 2013, it had 28 residents, including key investor “Draexlmaier Automotive” Ltd and, as of late 2012, "Gebauer & Griller", one of the leading providers of cables and wires, with an investment of around USD 28 million. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 39.3 million.

FEZ “Ungheni-Business” is located near the city of Ungheni, in the central region of Moldova, on the west border with Romania. It was established in 2002 for a period of 42 years. The total area of the FEZ is 42.34 ha divided into the main territory and four sub zones. In 2013, there were 35 residents registered. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 55.8 million.

FEZ “Otaci-Business” was established in 1998 for a period of 25 years. FEZ “Otaci-Business” is located in Otaci, Ocnita District. It has two sub-zones, of 32.17 ha and 1.02 ha respectively. In 2013, nine companies were registered as residents of FEZ “Otaci-Business”. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 3.4 million.

FEZ “Taraclia” was established in 1998 for a period of 25 years. Taraclia FEZ is located in the south region of Moldova, in Taraclia District. The Free Zone is located along the railway Chisinau-Besarabka-Reni, on the territory of several industrial enterprises, its total area being of 36 ha. In 2013 there were 10 residents registered. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 15 million.

FEZ “Valkanes” was created in 1998 for a period of 25 years. It is the only FEZ located in the Gagauzia region, 6 km from Vulcanesti. FEZ ”Valkanes” has an area of 122.3 ha divided in two sectors (78 ha and 44.3 ha respectively). In 2013 there were 30 residents registered. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 15.1 million.

FEZ “Tvardita” is situated on the south of the Republic of Moldova. It was created in 2001 for a period of 30 years. The FEZ area is 3.57 ha. In 2013, five residents were registered. Total investments since the establishment of the FEZ amount to USD 15.5 million.

Marculesti International Free Airport was established in 2008 for a period of 25 years. It operates on the territory of the ex-military aerodrome of Marculesti. It has a dual-purpose airfield, used for military and civil air transportation, international passenger and freight transportation, and for the fulfilment of requirements for national defence, security and international commitments of the Republic of Moldova.

The land within the limits of the Free Airport has an area of 265.23 ha, consisting of the airfield and the development region. The land is managed by the State Enterprise “Marculesti International Airport” as general investor.

Giurgiulesti International Free Port (GIFP) was established in 2005 for a period of 25 years. It is located 133.8 km up the river Danube, which is included in the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway corridor, in the South of Moldova with its territory bordering directly with Romania and the Ukraine. It has a territory of 120 ha, including a petroleum terminal, a cargo port and an industrial free zone. GIFP is capable of receiving both inland and sea-going vessels.

GIFP is within the private ownership of its general investor and operator ICS Danube Logistics SRL, a company owned by Danube Logistics Holding BV and EBRD. Unlike those of FEZ, the residents of GIFP may carry out any activity ordinarily allowed throughout the Republic of Moldova, including: port and transport services; manufacture of industrial products, including oil products; transportation, processing, packaging and finishing of goods; wholesale trade; paid services, etc. There is no minimum investment requirement to become a GIFP resident. In 2013, there were 41 residents registered.
An industrial park is a defined area with technical and production infrastructure, where economic activities, mainly industrial production, provision of services, employment of scientific researches and / or technological development, may be carried out, benefitting from specific incentives. The law on industrial parks was adopted in 2010.

An industrial park may be created for 30 years either on the territory of state or private enterprises, through green field investments or by means of public private partnerships. In practice, an industrial park is created by means of obtaining the title of industrial park by an enterprise on the basis of Government decision. This enterprise becomes the administrator of the industrial park, i.e. it can also act as the resident of the industrial park.

Any legal entity registered in Moldova (legal entities with local, mixed or foreign capital) can become an industrial park resident on the basis of a contract concluded with the administrator-enterprise, aiming to carry out such activities as industrial production, service provision, implementation of the scientific researches and / or technological development within the industrial park.

During 2010 - 2011 three enterprises obtained the title of industrial park on the basis of Government decisions:

Industrial park “Bioenergagro” is in Tarigrad, Drochia District in the northern part of Moldova. The area of this industrial park is 13.49 ha. It is a private industrial park. The title of industrial park was offered by the Government to “Bioenergagro” LLC, including the plot of land in their private ownership, in order to implement the first investment project on the Biogass production complex by the “Bioenergagro” LLC.

Industrial park "Tracom" is located in Chisinau on a territory with an area of 32.26 ha. It has the necessary infrastructure for residents to be able to perform their activities in the following areas: manufacturing of machinery and equipment, electrical and electronic production, manufacture of metal articles and IT.

Industrial Park “Cimişlia” is located in Cimislia city on a territory with an area of 40 ha. It is currently under construction. According to the project, the areas of specialisation of this Industrial Park will mainly be the following: manufacture of dairy products, oil production, manufacture of starch and starch products, and meat production, processing and preserving.

Based on the objective of creating a network of industrial parks throughout the country, four additional enterprises obtained the title of industrial park in 2013:

Industrial park “S.A. Raut” is located in Balti, specialising in machinery and equipment production, electrical and electronic equipment manufacture. The total value of the investment proposed for this project amounts to about EUR 25 million, including renovation of the technical and production infrastructures, with connection to the industrial park, and the construction / renovation of production facilities by the future residents of the park.

Industrial park “S.A. CAAN” is located in Straseni, specialising in manufacture of metal pieces / parts, refrigeration equipment and also winemaking equipment and packaging. Total value of investments for the development and production rehabilitation of the industrial park is expected to reach EUR 27 million.

Industrial park “SRL Eco Garant” is located in Edinet. The investment project provides an investment of more than EUR 25 million for the construction of a factory (production of concentrated juice from fruits and vegetables), as well as the establishment of at least 1,000 permanent and seasonal jobs.

Industrial park “La Triveneta Cavi Development”, located in Straseni, specialising in the production of low and medium voltage cables, optical fiber manufacturing and other. A value of about EUR 25 million is provided for investments in the creation and development of technical and production infrastructure of the industrial park.

There are also other places, identified on the basis of feasibility studies (all the studies are available at the address: http://mec.gov.md/studii-de-fezabilitate/), suitable for the establishment of industrial parks (Edinet, Falesti, Balti, Hincesti, Cantemir, Cainari).

Free Economic Zones and Industrial Parks Incentives Overview

FEZ Incentives

Protection of FEZ residents against legal acts worsening the applicable regimes

Should newly-adopted laws (“New Law”) worsen the conditions of FEZ residents’ activity in respect of customs, tax and other regimes provided for by the previous laws concerning FEZ (“Old Law”), FEZ residents may benefit from the regimes provided by the Old Law for:

  • 10 years as of entry into force of the New Law, but not more than the period of FEZ operation (general rule);
  • The whole period of operation within FEZ, but not more than 20 years of entry into force of the New Law (special rule applicable to residents whose investments in the fixed assets of FEZ-company or in the development of FEZ infrastructure exceed USD 200 million).
  • The Old Law will be applicable for the mentioned period to FEZ residents’ activity within the investment projects registered before the entry into force of the New Law.
Special tax and customs regime

For 2014, the following CIT incentives for FEZ investors are applicable:

  • Entities established in the FEZ and which export goods and services from FEZ to outside the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova or deliver the produced goods to other FEZ residents for goods to be exported are entitled to apply 50% of the applicable CIT rate on such income. For other cases, the CIT rate is 75% of the established one;
  • The income obtained from exports of goods (services) originating from the FEZ to outside the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova or from supply of the produced goods to other FEZ residents for goods to be exported is CIT exempted for a period of three years, provided the FEZ residents invested a capital equivalent of at least USD 1 million in the fixed assets of their enterprises and / or in the development of the infrastructure of the FEZ;
  • The income obtained from the export of goods (services) originating from the FEZ to outside the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova or from supply of the produced goods to other FEZ residents for goods to be exported is CIT exempted for a period of five years, provided that the FEZ residents invested in the fixed assets of their enterprises and / or in development of the infrastructure of FEZ capital equivalent to at least 5 million USD.

From a VAT perspective, goods and services supplied in the FEZ from abroad, from FEZ outside the customs territory of the Republic of Moldova, in the FEZ from other areas of Moldova and those supplied to residents of other FEZ are subject to 0% VAT.

According to the customs provisions, goods are introduced into the FEZ with no import VAT or customs duty and are not subject to economic policy measures, according to specific criteria. Certain taxes in specific situations might be incurred by residents of the FEZ, however. Investors in the FEZ are guaranteed and protected from changes in legislation for a general period of up to ten years, while under certain conditions this period may be extended to 20 years.

Transfer of profits, currency repatriation rules

Monetary means obtained by foreign investors as profits (dividends) or from the sale of their shareholding in companies - FEZ residents, or resulting from reorganisation / winding up of companies - FEZ residents may be freely transferred outside of the Moldovan territory, after fulfilling tax liabilities.

The provisions on foreign currency repatriation are applicable to the export-import transactions between FEZ residents and foreign entities. These rules do not apply to transactions between FEZ residents and other Moldovan legal entities operating outside FEZ, however.

Special visa and work permits regime for foreign workers of FEZ residents

A simplified procedure of work permits issuance is provided for the foreign workers of FEZ residents. No consular fee is required for the issuance of business visas for foreign workers of FEZ residents.

Industrial Parks incentives

Protection of FEZ residents against legal acts worsening the applicable regimes

IP Residents and IP Administration may benefit from the following real estate facilities and Government support:

  • Free of charge change of the category of land with agricultural destination;
  • Entitlement to privatise public property land associated with constructions, at the price land established by law;
  • Free of charge transfer of public property assets with the purpose of industrial parks establishment upon owner’s decision;
  • Application, by the administrating enterprise, of the reduction coefficient down to 0.3 of the tariff set for the annual lease payment for the public property land;
  • Optimisation of state inspections.

Labour & Education Overview

Most of the FEZ and IP are located near or within the biggest cities in Moldova (Chisinau, Balti, Ungheni, Drochia).

Most of the universities, professional and vocational schools are located in Chisinau.

FEZ “Balti” is located near the Balti City in the north region of Moldova. In Balti there are several higher and medium education institutions, including Balti State University, Dniester Institute of Economics and Law, Balti Polytechnic College, Medical College, Technical-Railway College, Light Industry College, a lyceum, professional and vocational schools, etc.

FEZ “Valkanes” is located near the town of Vulcanesti. There are two high schools, two secondary schools and a gymnasium.

Ungheni City is located in the east-central part of Moldova, on the border with Romania. Its population is 38,400 people, with 62% being economically active. There are six high schools, two secondary schools, two primary schools, a boarding school, a multipurpose school, Medicine College, Agribusiness College, two sports schools, a hospital and two medical centres.

The district where FEZ “Taraclia” is located has 21 schools, a State University and a vocational college.

The Free International Airport Marculesti is located close to former military-industrial complex. In the surrounding areas (Floresti and the neighbouring villages) there are three vocational schools, which prepare workers in different fields (construction workers, mechanics, electricians, operators, etc.).

Local Transportation

Most of the FEZ are located at the intersection of national roads and do have access to railways.

FEZ “Expo-Business Chisinau”

  • 1 km to International Airport Chisinau
  • International road Chisinau-Odessa
  • 150 km to Free International Airport Marculesti
  • 240 km to Giurgiulesti Interna¬tional Free Port

FEZ “BALTI”

  • International route – 1 km from E583 European road (Vienna-Uzhgorod-Chisinau-Odessa-Rostov/Don)
  • National route – location at the crossroads of the international road M4 (Balti-Floresti-Soroca) and the ring road with direct access to the national road Balti-Chisinau and the international road M14 (Balti-Edinet-Cernauti)
  • Railway – located at the intersection of three railway lines (Balti-Rabnita, Balti-Ungheni, Balti-Ocnita), there are two stations (Balti-Slobozia Station, called the North Station, and Balti-City Station, called the West Station)
  • Balti International Airport (Leadoveni) at 10 km and Marculesti International Airport
  • Railway at a distance of 1 km

FEZ “Otaci-Business”

  • The national route is located at a distance of 500 m from the FEZ and the nearest railway station – Valcinet – is situated at a distance of 1 km
  • Access through the routes Otaci-Ocnita, Otaci-Soroca, Otaci-Balti

FEZ “Valkanes”

  • Proximity to the Romanian border (Giurgiulesti customs) – 50 km, and to Ukraine - 1 km
  • Main railway linking the FEZ with the Danube port of Reni (Odessa region, Ukraine) – 38 km
  • Distance to Galati (Romania) – 60 km, to Odessa – 260 km, to Ismail – 60 km, to Chisinau – 180 km
  • The closest airports are located in Chisinau – 180 km, and Cahul - 35 km
  • Located close to the international route M3 Giurgiulesti-Chisinau

FEZ “Ungheni-Business”

  • Access to the Russian-type railway, the European-type railway is 2 km away
  • Chisinau International Airport is 140 km away
  • Marculesti International Free Airport is 105 km away
  • The distance to the national road is 1 km

FEZ “Taraclia”

  • Access to railway and roads
  • Access to local and international routes
  • Developed communication system
  • 150 km from Chisinau
  • 75 km from Giurgiulesti International Free Port
  • 35 km from the border with Ukraine
  • 55 km from the border with Romania

FEZ “Tvardita”

Existing infrastructure:

  • National highway (Chisinau-Cimislia-Basarabeasca-Ceadar-lunga)
  • International Airport at a distance of 125 km (Chisinau)
2013
Volume of goods transported by public transport enterprises (thousands tonnes) Number of transported passengers by public transport enterprises (thousands)
Railway 5,431.4 Railway* 3,768.2
Auto 8,184.1 Bus & Microbus 114,664.8
Naval 162.6 Naval 116.4
Air 1.3 Air 655
Total 13,779.4 Total 120,101.6
* January – November 2013
Source: National Bureau of Statistics
Traffic by International Airport Chișinău
Commercial air transport Scheduled flights
Year Passengers Freight & Mail (tonnes) Passengers Freight & Mail (tonnes)
2005 480,765 1,726 447,593 1,540
2006 546,633 1,838 511,315 1,652
2007 687,221 2,262 647,361 2,136
2008 845,926 2,469 834,084 2,225
2009 806,583 2,021 797,586 1,865
2010 936,226 2,398 928,761 2,305
2011 1,044,785 2,710 1,036,587 2,646
2012 1,220,496 2,766 1,209,490 2,662
2013 1,321,362 2,819 N/A N/A
Road Transportation

The country has more than 9,500 km of roads, but only 8,700 km have rigid surfacing: 3,300 km of national roads and 6,100 km of local ones. 93% of roads need repair. There are no motorways and in winter snow can make some areas temporarily impassable.

Railway Transportation

The State Enterprise “Calea Ferata” runs Moldova’s railroad. The railway network, totalling 1,138 km (707 mi) of track, still needs considerable investment.
The entire length of the Moldovan railway network is single track and not electrified. Much of the railroad infrastructure is still in a poor state, with all of the rolling stock being inherited from the former Soviet Union. The average speed for commercial passenger trains is 35 – 40 km/h (22 – 25 mph including stops).

Substantial investments have been made in building new railway lines since 2003, however, with the goal of connecting Chisinau to southern Moldova and eventually to the Giurgiulesti terminal. The first such segment was the 40 km (25 mi) Revaca–Cainari line, which opened in 2006.

Connections exist to Ukraine at Kuchurhan, Mohilyv-Podil's'ky, Ocnita. The track between Basarabeasca and Reni crosses the border back and forth. Note that the Kuchurhan crossing as well as the Tighina–Tiraspol–Kuchurhan segment are under the control of the Transnistrian separatist authorities, the circulation of trains on the route depend on the level of political tensions between the separatists and the Government of Moldova.

Between Moldova and Romania there is a break-of-gauge (Romania employing standard gauge). The most important crossing (including gauge changing equipment) is Ungheni-Iasi, with another two at Cantemir-Falciu and Giurgiuleşti-Galaţi. International passenger trains run to Bucharest, Kiev, Minsk, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

Naval Transportation

Giurgiulesti International Free Port (GIFP), Moldova's only port accessible to sea-going vessels, is situated 133.8 km up the River Danube in the South of Moldova. GIFP serves as the only direct sea / river-borne transhipment and distribution point to and from Moldova.

Click here to download a detailed description of advantages and opportunities offered by the Giurgiulesti International Free Port

The Moldovan Investment and Export Promotion Organization (MIEPO)

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