- Published: 13.06.2017.
Croatia-Ukraine business forum: Much room to develop cooperation
Croatia and Ukraine have good economic relations, however, there is room for advancement in several sectors, it was said at a Croatia-Ukraine business forum held on Tuesday in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
Particularly potential areas for cooperation lie in energy, the petrochemical and chemical industry, metallurgy, ship building, construction, wood industry, agriculture and the food industry and tourism.
The forum was held as part of an official visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to Croatia.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in his opening address, which he started in Ukraine, said that there were many similarities in the two languages and closeness of cultures between two friendly nations that have many historical connections.
He said that data about commodity trade last year spoke for itself and what a market of 45 million who favour Croatia means to Croatian businessmen while at the same time, Croatia as a European market is interesting for Ukrainian businessmen.
A legal framework would contribute to that, and that would be an agreement of association between the EU and Ukraine which would enable Croatian enterprises equal access to the Ukraine market just like all other entities from the EU, he said.
He recalls that Croatia is in an exceptionally favourable economic moment - GDP is growing, public debt is falling, the budget deficit is at an all-time low, employment is growing and unemployment is falling and three global credit rating agencies have revised upward Croatia's outlook from negative to stable.
That's a positive framework for the government's work to continue economic growth and development and to create a favourable business climate that will be acceptable for investors and equally good for our enterprises, Plenkovic said.
He holds that the experiences of numerous Croatian companies in international projects indicates that they certainly have a chance on the Ukraine market.
Plenkovic expects businessmen to exploit the positive political framework which is the best in the past 25 years.
Groysman underscored that there is a lot of potential to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly in energy, tourism, agriculture and high technology.
He assessed President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's Three Seas Initiative as positive as well as the initiative to construct a gas pipeline that would connect Croatia and Ukraine.
The presidents of the Croatian and Ukraine chambers of commerce, Luka Burilovic and Gennadiy Chyzhykov respectively underlined the friendly relations between the two countries and the cooperation between their business people, however, they concluded, there was still room to expand economic cooperation.
The forum in Zagreb brought together 22 companies from Ukraine and 42 Croatian companies.
According to the Croatian national Bureau of Statistics, in 2016 commodity exchange between the two countries amounted to 76 million USD, an increase of 66% compared to 2015.
In that period Croatia's export to Ukraine amounted to $33.4 million, which is a jump of 147% while imports from Ukraine amounted to $42.7 million, up 32%.
In 2016, 64,700 Ukrainian tourists visited Croatia, an increase of 28%, generating a 415,698 bednights.