The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) organized a conference on boosting Croatia’s exports in the coastal resort of Šibenik on Friday.
Speaking at the conference Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that reducing the dependence of the Croatian economy on imports is the key macroeconomic challenge facing the country.
Marić noted that the structure of the Croatian economy continues to reveal a rather high dependency on imports, pointing out that this can only be reduced by boosting domestic production, especially export-oriented production, as well as creating new and added values, without which it will be difficult to make any significant progress.
According to Marić, an analysis of the structure of the Croatian economy from the expenditures side has shown a satisfactory level of domestic demand and consumer sentiment, coupled with wage growth and a rise in employment, investments and exports. He added however, that growth in domestic demand and exports is also driven by the growth of these import components. He encouraged exporters to continue to do what they have been doing so far, offering competitive products and services, and that it is up to HBOR and the government to give them as much support as possible.
The minister added that there are solid grounds for the further development of the Croatian economy and continued economic growth, which currently stands at about three percent of GDP. He concluded however, that no one should be satisfied with this level of growth in the medium to long term.
For her part HBOR CEO Tamara Perko noted that the institution's operations focused on three primary areas, supporting exporters, European funds and new product development. She added that in 2018, HBOR supported Croatian businesses with 8.4 billion Kuna, which is 13 percent more than in the previous year. HBOR is offering entrepreneurs financing with interest rates as low as 1.3 percent.
Perko also emphasizes the HBOR's future activities include drawing up its new strategy for the next five-year period, which should be adopted by the end of the year. She concluded by saying that HBOR will be very active with regards to the European Commission's new InvestEU program, as she feels it is the basis for Croatia's future growth and development.
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