Bridging the ocean: Law Firm Strati & Kostopoulos presentation

How to do business in America – Important things to know

Several Albanian companies have already turned their attention to exporting their products to the United States, but the most daring have also started thinking about how to invest in the United States — a market of 327 million consumers. How can that be done? To answer that question, the American Chamber of Commerce in Albania organized a workshop with Strati & Kostopoulos Law Firm, whose expert explained in detail the American legislation that allows international investors to place their capital in the United States. One of the firm’s partners, Angelos Kostopoulos presented information to AmCham members on how to invest in the U.S. market, noting that the workshop aimed to serve as a bridge connecting the two sides of the ocean.

Albania has a geopolitical advantage. As a gateway to the Balkans market, the country is also a U.S. strategic partner, a NATO member and an EU candidate awaiting to open membership negotiations. All these factors increase opportunities for Albanians, according to Mr. Kostopoulos.

In his presentation, Mr. Kostopoulos referred to key elements of the tax legislation implemented under the Trump Administration, including detailed explanations on Individual Income Tax Declaration 1040 & 1040NR, reports on foreign bank accounts, statements of specific foreign financial assets and FATCA indicators (Foreign Account Tax Compliance).

The presentation also shed some light on OPIC and its functions, as well as a brief presentation of institutions that guide business in the United States, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Import-Export Bank and U.S. Trade and Development. The FDA, for example, is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through control and monitoring. Food safety, tobacco products, cosmetics, vaccines, veterinary products — all go through the supervision of the FDA.

A very interesting element of the meeting was the information on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) which is a U.S. government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. OPIC provides business with the tools to manage the risk associated with foreign direct investment and promotes economic development in emerging market countries and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities.

An important role in this process is played by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which provides political risk insurance for projects in various sectors in member and developing countries that cover all regions of the world.

There was also interest among members at the workshop on the types of work visas, residence permits and legal procedures involving aliens who want to work in the United States.


Immigrant Investment Programs

The minimum investment needed in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), is $800,000.

The investor would benefit permanent residency (green card) for themselves and their family and eligibility for U.S. citizenship.

Important elements of tax legislation

Corporate taxes vary from 21% to 35%.

LLC – 20% reduction for costs in the first $315,000 of investment.

Repeals 20% corporate AMT.

Exempts U.S. corporations from U.S. taxes on most future foreign profits.

Sets repatriation corporation tax of 8%.

Reduces individual income tax bracket rates.

Almost doubles Standard Deduction.

Doubles child tax credit.

Increases estate tax exemption to $ 11,200,000.