Doing Business in Croatia
Croatia 2012 Country Commercial Guide – Market Overview
The EU signed an Accession Treaty with Croatia on December 9, 2011, and Croatian voters approved with a 66 percent majority Croatia’s accession to the EU on January 22, 2012. Croatia is slated to formally enter the EU on July 1, 2013, as long as the parliaments of the current 27 EU member states ratify Croatia’s Accession Treaty by then. With EU Accession, the need for product double-testing and customs clearances when distributing goods and services between the EU countries and Croatia will be eliminated. U.S. companies already exporting to the EU will have an additional market opportunity, accessible without any further administrative burden.
EU accession negotiations provided an additional impetus for the Croatian Government to undertake measures in recent years to address corruption and bureaucratic and judicial inefficiency. The new Croatian Government elected in December 2011 has expressed its determination to further strengthen these reforms as well as to find new and more effective ways to consolidate public spending, improve the business climate and foster economic growth.
Croatia is a small but complex market. It is about the size of West Virginia, but its geography divides it into two distinct markets -- the more affluent and tourism-oriented Dalmatian costal region along the beautiful Adriatic Sea, and the rural inland Slavonian region, dominated by agricultural and industrial activities. The country’s population of roughly 4.5 million is largely homogenous in ethnicity, language and religion; but in the summer months its numbers are doubled by tourists from throughout Europe and the world, making it a cosmopolitan market for products and services. Its ports and transportation infrastructure make Croatia a natural trade gateway into southeast Europe, but its largest trading partners are Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Austria. Croatia is a strong democracy with a market economy, but retains significant state control or involvement in a number of industries -- and has a considerable public financial burden from its social welfare policies. In brief, Croatia is a market of opportunity, but one that should be entered with due diligence. The U.S. Commercial Service is ready to help U.S. firms enter and succeed in this growing market.
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