IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has assisted Fakom, a construction company based in Skopje, FYR Macedonia, with implementation of the CE marking, an indicator that its products meet all the requirements of applicable European directives.

This will help the company grow and improve its competitiveness in the international market. Fakom designs, manufactures, and builds bridges and steel structures for public, industrial, and sports facilities.

Companies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia face great challenges in meeting international standards and increasing exports. To address this, IFC is implementing the International Standards and Technical Regulations Program in the region, which is supported by the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs and the Slovenian ministry of economy.

“We have been working with IFC to adopt 21 European standards and earn the CE marking for several months. IFC helped us improve our processes and procedures and provided training to our staff. This will usher a new era for Fakom, as we plan to conduct more business in Europe,” says Vladimir Mihajlov, general manager of Fakom.

“The CE marking is becoming increasingly important as countries in Southern Europe look to possible membership in the European Union and local companies shift their focus to the European market. By helping companies introduce the CE marking, we hope to increase their exports and competitiveness in the European market,” says Philip Condon, head of IFC advisory services in Southern Europe.

Many companies in Southern Europe view the international standards as non-tariff barriers. The CE marking was introduced to make trade easier and cheaper. It signifies that a manufacturer declares that its products conform to the minimum legal requirements for health and safety as specified in European Union directives.

It also allows companies to market their products freely within the European Economic Area. Often, customers will look for the CE marking to ensure acceptable levels of consumer safety and protection while using or handling the product.

“The International Standards and Technical Regulations Program builds awareness among companies and provides a range of training and consulting services. Fakom’s certification marks the successful end of our first project in FYR Macedonia,” says Ivana Curic, IFC manager of the International Standards and Technical Regulations Program in Southern Europe.

IFC’s International Standards and Technical Regulations Program is helping companies in Southern Europe introduce a wide range of standards.