Webinar "Discovering the Balkans. Why Invest in Croatia".
General characteristics of the economic situation
Following the 2009-2014 crisis, in the yeas 2015 - 2019 the Croatian economy reported the annual GDP increase. Croatia's economic situation has experienced a dramatic change which reflected the global coronavirus pandemic unveiling. The European Commission has estimated Croatia's GDP decline at 10.8% in 2020, the Croatian government's reports 8%. According to EC forecasts, the Croatian economy may report 7.5% growth in 2021, according to the government, 2021's GDP growth will amount to 5%.
Main economy sectors
Tourism is Croatia's dominant branch of and thus generates around 20% of the country's GDP.
The EU is Croatia's largest trading partner. The trade exchange had grown steadily before the coronavirus crisis; in 2018 it accounted for 69% of total Croatian exports and 80% of imports.
EU Member States - Germany, Italy and Slovenia are Croatia's primary business partners. Trade exchange with non-EU countries accounted for 31% of export and 20% of import in 2018— Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and China at the top of the business-partners ranking in this group.
According to HNB, in 2019's value of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Croatia amounted to EUR 1.2 billion, with EU countries (Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg) being the largest investors in Croatia. Investments are mainly located in the banking, trade and telecommunications sectors.
Bilateral economic cooperation
In recent years, there has been a value increase in Polish exports to Croatia. The trade dynamics has resulted in a clearly favourable balance of trade for Poland. Poland is ranked 6th among the largest exporter to Croatia, after Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria.
Furniture, tobacco products, food, passenger cars and car parts dominate in exports from Poland to Croatia.
For years medicines have dominated imports from Croatia to Poland, however sauces and spices, wallpapers, confectionery, glass moulds and transformers have enjoyed a substantial share.
Poland's favourable trade balance with Croatia is to some extent offset by over a million Polish tourists' spending. Many Poles spend their holidays on the Croatian Adriatic coast every year.
The Polish exports value to Croatia in 2019 amounted to EUR 945.9 million, and imports from Croatia to Poland amounted to EUR 242.5 million. In the first half of 2020, the value of exports to Croatia amounted to EUR 431.1 million, and the value of imports to Poland was EUR 128 million.
The largest Polish investments in Croatia include: the OT Logistics SA investment in the Rijeka Port and the construction of a composite glass factory in Varaždin by Press Glass SA. Polish companies Asseco, LPP, CCC, Inter Cars enjoy a good position on the Croatian market.
The largest Croatian investor in Poland is the Orbico Group - one of the largest European FCMG companies located in South-Eastern Europe. The Orbico Group has invested approx. EUR 100 million in Poland and now owns Wella Professionals, Navo Grupa, Distribev and Optima Grupa, to name a few. The Orbico Group employs 1,600 people and has the annual turnover of around EUR 800 million. Josip Roglić, the representative of the Orbico Group, became the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in April 2019.
Market access for Polish goods and services
In Croatia, foreign companies find no formal administrative barriers to doing business; however, there are limitations that apply to foreign companies in the field of rail transport (local passenger transport). Starting and running a business in some industries is conditioned
by obtaining a permit, a license or a concession; these sectors include banking, insurance, transport, civil engineering, land surveying services, tobacco production and trade, production and
trade in explosives, production and trade in weapons, military equipment and ammunition as well as energy, product quality control, production and trade in medicines and medical agents,
spatial planning, tax consultancy, auditing, telecommunication services, postal services, veterinary services, job placement, security agencies and air transport.
Access to the labour market
Pursuant to the Act on Foreigners and the regulations on EU citizens' and their family members' employment, Croatia provides Poles with unlimited access to its labour market.
Real estate acquisition and rental
Foreigners who are EU citizens can, in principle, purchase real estate in Croatia on the same terms as domestic entities, however certain real estate types are excluded from this general law, for example, agricultural land and nature reserves are protected by special laws.
A company established in Croatia by a foreign investor also has the right to acquire real estate without restrictions. Foreigners from non-EU countries who wish to purchase property in Croatia can only do so if there is a bilateral agreement which guarantees reciprocity for Croatian citizens.
A real estate acquisition is subject to taxation. Traded real estate mainly includes agricultural lands, construction lots etc., as well as residential, commercial and other buildings. Starting 1 January 2019, the tax on real estate acquisition is 3% of the market value of the real estate on the day the contract conclusion and this tax is paid by a property buyer.
Public procurement system
The 2016's Public Procurement Act defines public procurement procedures and complies with EU directives. The Act provides the legal provisions for unlimited tender, restricted tender, negotiation with a publication, negotiation without publication, competition, competitive dialogue. The issues related to public procurement for state administration are the competence of the Central State Office for Central Public Procurement with the Public Procurement Act being the legal basis for the Office's activities.