Business delegation to Zagreb – by Juho
June 21, 2010 | Posted by: admin | 0 Comments
I had a great pleasure to participate fact finding tour to Zagreb on June 14 to 17 as a member of Foreign Trade Committee of Central Finland Chamber of Commerce. The beautiful city of Zagreb, situated in Northern part of Croatia, is a lively capital with 800 000 inhabitants. The economical potential of Croatia among many other countries of the Western Balkan region has been under the shadow of Yugoslav’s wars. NATO membership and European Union integration process keep the local politicians busy. This was learned while visiting institutions such as International Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of Finland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia. Effects of global economic crisis did not spare Croatia either. Year 2009 GDP was 45.38 Billion € with negative annual growth rate of -5.8 % and the estimated rate for year 2010 is 0.5 %. Furthermore, industrial production decreased by -9.3 %. Luckily Croatia is highly dependant on tourism which decreased only a little.
Automotive sector component production and the privatization of shipyards give potential for CuproBraze producers. Quoting Mr. Hubert Hödl, Vice President Marketing & Business Development of Magna International Inc., “We expect a recovery in our industry. Inside the 300 km circle around Zagreb there will be a production of one million cars per year until 2012. Besides this, Croatian based company DOG-ING has designed a three-seated electric car, ecologically acceptable vehicle to be used for city driving. The warranty period for the car, excluding a lead or lithium-iron-phosphate battery, is 5 years and the car will cost around 10,000 €. Following two hours of charging, the car will have 250 km driving distance.
Currently Croatia is the 2nd most developed country after Slovenia in the Western Balkan region. The core message by the politicians and representatives of the private sector during the visit was that, Croatia is searching foreign co-operation, especially in the form of Greenfield investments. As Croatia has excellent geostrategic location, well developed infrastructure and competitive productivity versus gross wage–ratio I have positive expectations that Croatia will establish its position as 28th EU member country either year 2012 or 13. In the future, Croatia will work for International companies as a spring board for market of 27 million people. Besides this, in case of EU membership there will be available massive amounts of structured cohesion funds for infrastructure, energy and environmental sectors.