Croatian Chamber of Commerce Opens Office in Belgrade

By 19 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 19, 2018 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) on Wednesday once again opened its office in Belgrade after five years and officials from both Croatia's and Serbia's chambers said that the economy needed and must be above politics, expressing regret over an incident caused by Vojislav Šešelj which cast a shadow on this economic event and caused the official visit by Croatia's parliamentary delegation to Belgrade to be abruptly terminated.

HGK president Luka Burilović and president of Serbia's chamber Marko Čadež underscored that entrepreneurs in both countries will not be disturbed by incidents caused by "people from the past," and that cooperation between the two chambers and entrepreneurs on both sides will continue based on economic and market principles to mutual interest.

"As much as I am pleased that we are opening this office - although I have wondered why it was ever closed - I am saddened by the incident that occurred during the visit by the Croatian parliament delegation and Speaker Gordan Jandroković. I believe that that is a politically isolated incident of the past that we mustn't neglect however. Capital is a very sensitive and fragile beast that goes where it is secure," Burilović said.

He underscored that it was important for the HGK to continue good economic cooperation "that began before the establishment of political relations," which is proof that the "economy is above politics." Burilović assessed that there was still a lot of room for economic cooperation with Serbia.

The event was overshadowed by an incident caused by Vojislav Šešelj who stomped on the Croatian flag during the Croatian parliamentary delegation's official visit and Čadež apologised to his Croatian counterpart and said that he was ashamed.

"I am personally ashamed of the outburst of primitivism by one man of the past whom no-one today needs. Instead of talking about matters that mean life and the future for us, our families and our countries, an ugly picture was sent from Belgrade in the most primitive way possible. I am ashamed because of that," Čadež said opening HGK's office in Belgrade.

Čadež said that Croatian companies had invested 800 million euro into Serbia and employed 14,000 people. "That is serious business and we haven't even scratched the surface of potential," Čadež said and announced that by the end of the year Serbia's chamber would open its office in Zagreb in cooperation with HGK.

There are about 200 Croatian companies doing business in Serbia with more than 750 million euro in investments. Serbia is the fourth most important country for Croatian investors.