The 15th annual Convention of Croatian Exporters was held in Zagreb on Tuesday. Participants noted that the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a serious drop-off in exports, for this reason exporters said that it is important for other European countries to adopt a regional approach with regard to their measures for Croatia, calling on government to show more diplomatic initiative in this sense.
In his address, the president of the Association of Croatian Exporters, Darinko Bago, noted that while only 15 percent of Croatian companies are exporters, they account for 62 percent of all investment in the country. Bago said that this statistic alone was evidence that exporters are the backbone of the Croatia economy. After applauding government's efforts during the corona-crisis, he called for a more pro-active diplomatic approach: “That we intensify regionalization, strengthen diplomatic activities with other countries so that they don't look simply at us as one isolated country, but the region as a whole, and if there is a hot-spot within that region, that it be localized. We have to travel to those countries, and if we're on their red list, then we're in a no-win situation, when we either have to be quarantined or pay for a test and leave the country within three days. Perhaps we should even look into cheaper tests for exporters, something like football players have.”
For his part Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he expects the drop in GDP for 2020 to be somewhat less than initial projections, and that he expects serious investment into science and sustainable industries.
“I expect the process of re-industrialization to be implemented, and for support to be offered to businesses in the smart and clean technologies sector, as well as for a digital transformation in doing business,” the prime minister told exporters.
National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić outlined the latest data for the export sector: “We have a relatively small drop in terms of the export of goods, between 10 to 15 percent. However, we have a much stronger decline in services, which is tied to the tourism sector, between 50 to 70 percent.”