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Referat af Teams møde den 26. april 2023 om albansk eksport

Dato: 07/05/2023

Referat af Teams møde den 26. april 2023 om albansk eksport

DAF - Danish-Albanian Association

Summary of online export meeting April 26, 2023

Hans-Georg Nielsen, DAF chairman
Linda Kabashi, DAF board member
Safet Seljmanovski, DAF board member
Sara Zotaj - Head of After Care Sector, AIDA (Albanian Investment Development Agency)
Albana Zykaj - Head of SMEs and Export Sector, AIDA
Enejda Muzaka - Specialist at SMEs and Export Sector, AIDA
Dhimiter Zaka wholesale, importer
Karsten Ankjær Jensen, former Danish ambassador to Albania
Zarko Masanovic Head of section Danish Trade Council Zagreb
Tue Magnussen, DAF member

Dr. Ravic Mima, economist, wine and development
Bersant Hobdari Ass. prof. CBS
Afrim Resedi Economical ApS
Avni Camili - Lawyer in Cph
John Aagard, Export specialist
Helge Andersen, Windturbines
Arbi Hoxha, consultant
Kristian Sevdari, DTU

1. Welcome remarks by DAF chairman Hans-Georg Nielsen
2. My experience until now! By importer Dhimiter Zaka.
3. The work of Aida, investment, export, exhibitions, conferences
4. Discussion and comments by the participants.
5. Setting up 3 concrete, most needed activities boosting export.
6. Conclusion

1. Hans-Georg Nielsen said welcome and talked briefly about the background and the purpose of the meeting, which is to discuss how to increase trade between Denmark and Albania.

2. Dhimiter Zaka told about his experiences with importing from Albania.

One of the problems is the challenge of finding Albanian companies on google. AIDA has made a pdf-catalogue with a survey of Albanian products, but not many companies can be found by searching the internet, as they have not invested in online marketing. A database is missing with a survey and links to all the producers. Dhimiter proposed the idea of a database five years ago to the union of producers in Albania and other places. The database could perhaps also include products from Kosova and North Macedonia. The importers want to see all the producers collected in one place.

Another problem Dhimiter has experienced is that producers in Albania do not give much service or support to customers, as opposed to for instance Italian companies who will send you e-mails and free samples on their own initiative. It feels like Albanian companies do not want to sell.

A third problem is the certification of Albanian products which is not always in place. A producer of Albanian olive oil advertised his product as ‘bio’, but the product did not have the bio/organic certification. Which can cause problems and delays for the importer when crossing the border.

A fourth problem is the samples from an Albanian producer, which sometimes contain less than you were promised. Dhimiter decided to take two bottles of olive oil with him of each 5 litres, but found out they only contained 4.5 litres. It is as if they do not understand or care about the need of the customer. Dhimiter is also importing from Kosova and has much better experiences with their way of treating the customers. Albania has lot of potential, but need to make a big change in their way of acting in business.

Dhimiter also mentioned the problem of infrastructure and transportation costs when you want to import from Albania. It costs at least 3000 euros to have a truck transporting goods directly from Albania to Denmark, whereas it only costs 100 euros from Verona to Denmark, so Dhimiter suggested that an agreement is made with Italy, so Albanian goods can be transported to Verona and continue from there. He suggested that a person in Albania should have the job of organizing and finding solutions to these issues, as the Albanian government cannot solve all the problems.

3. Sata Zotaj presented AIDA and stated they are a governmental institution focusing on helping small companies reaching foreign markets.
Sara then commented on some of the problems pointed out earlier. Most of them AIDA cannot help with but only share their experiences.
The small companies are primarily focusing on producing and presenting their products – as for instance in the pdf-catalogue mentioned before. Sara thinks the problem is not they do not want to make business, but that they do not know how to.
As far as a database is concerned, AIDA already has a database. However, they cannot link directly to it due to rules of data protection, but they can share the database on request, when someone is interested in a specific sector.
AIDA agree it is a general problem to get the products certified. Whether is it because the quality is not good enough or because they do not know how to do it, AIDA are currently unaware.

4. Hans-Georg mentioned crowdfunding as a method of supporting the Albanian producers financially. Albanian citizens and Albanians living in Denmark/Danish people with an interest in Albania could give donations to a fund to support the various sectors.
Dhimiter said promotion of Albanian products in Denmark could also be done on ‘luxury’ level. Albanian produced wine, olive oil or Raki (brandy) could be used in exclusive restaurants in Denmark like Noma. Or Danish charter tourists going back from a trip to Albania could be handed a small bag with Albanian products in the airport, such as a small beer or soda water, as a memory from the trip. This could increase the sale of Albanian products in Denmark.
In addition to helping the small producers to divide into sectors, AIDA also participate in international fairs where they help small scale companies promote their products, usually agricultural, as this is the largest sector in Albania. AIDA pays for the companies’ participation, as they are not able to provide for this.
Karsten Ankjær Jensen suggested that AIDA cooperate with the Danish trade council on how to make contact between Danish and Albanian companies.
Dhimiter asked AIDA which institution/person in Albania we should contact regarding questions about export from Albania, since AIDA`s focus is slightly different. AIDA replied there is not one place to contact but several places depending on the specific question. Karsten commented that he already worked for setting up an institution like that in Albania 10 years ago, and he was hoping it had been done by now. In his opinion this should be one of the first things AIDA should be working on - helping Albanian businesses to succeed abroad.
Sara replied that a strategy on export is currently being developed and they are hopeful.
Sara promised to share a list of Albanian wineries with Tue Magnussen and others who are interested. AIDA agreed there is a potential in the wine business.

5. Hans-Georg asked AIDA what 3 steps should be taken from Denmark to increase import from Albania?
Sara first made clear that Denmark is not a big market for Albania. Also, AIDA is a governmental organization, and the contact with specific countries should start on company level. AIDA can help with providing information, brochures etc. to Danish companies. The database will not be available online due to the data protection rules. They also have an online B2B platform, which they can share a link to. You can register and search for sectors etc.
Karsten commented that not being on the internet/google is a barrier for moving ahead. It is a big problem because everybody else is available online these days. Sara replied that “Albanian construction portal” is an example of a portal with many Albanian businesses collected in one place and a good searching tool.
Hans-Georg asked AIDA, how they will be able to support us, if we succeed in setting up a crowd funding scheme of some value and wish to contact collective centers. AIDA replied they can help us get in contact with the producers, but they cannot help us financially.
Dhimiter asked, what are the possibilities of AIDA helping Albanian businesses to participate in international fairs in Western Europe. AIDA replied that it is published on their website when they are planning to participate in international fairs, and the companies can apply. Dhimiter said he was wondering why the Albanian companies were not participating in the international food fair in Italy held recently. There were companies from Kosova and North Macedonia present, but not from Albania. Kosova and Northern Macedonian companies are organized in umbrella organizations, which make their costs of participation smaller and more affordable.
Hans-Georg commented that the future of marketing is not in fairs but on the internet. Karsten agreed and mentioned that many businesses have given up on participating in fairs, the money is better spent on being available on the internet.

6. Hans-Georg concluded there is an interest in Denmark in promoting Albanian products in Denmark, and we will continue to find practical ways to increase Albanian export to Denmark.
A fundraising project established by DAF might be a solution. Such a project might establish contact to relevant collective centers as mentioned by AIDA.
DAF will keep in contact with AIDA and other Albanian partners.

Hans-Georg thanked all participants and closed the meeting at 16.15.

May 3, 2023
Linda Kabashi

Note. The top picture is a mosaic within the baptistery of Butrint from the 6th century.




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