Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Croatian Agriculture Minister, Chinese Ambassador Discuss Pork Exports to China

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković has held an online meeting with Chinese Ambassador Xu Erwen to discuss ways of speeding up the procedure to obtain veterinary certificates and possibilities for pork exports to China, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The agricultural cooperation with China has intensified since 2006, and thanks to the China+17 initiative and the efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, the protocol on veterinary and public health requirements for dairy products intended for export from Croatia to China was signed in 2019, removing the obstacles to the sale of Croatian dairy products on the Chinese market.

Vučković mentioned Croatian requests towards the Chinese competent authority (GACC) regarding veterinary certificates for pork and pork products, fresh and frozen tuna, honey, beef and poultry, notably the export of tuna, pork and pork products from Croatia to China.

The Croatian ministry is in close communication with the GACC and Croatia is a step closer to getting a positive assessment as a country allowed to export pork and pork products to China, the statement said.

In 2020 the GACC was notified that the World Organisation for Animal Health had recognised Croatia as a country officially free of classic swine fever.

Between 2011 and 2020, with Croatia's entry into the European Union, Croatian agricultural and food exports to China increased ninefold, while at the same time imports from China decreased by more than double. In 2020 alone, the value of agricultural and food exports to China increased by 52% compared with 2019, to nearly €7 million.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Foreign Policy Forum Established in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 5 June 2021 - The Foreign Policy Forum, which will bring together experts, scientists, journalists and young researchers from Croatia and the world interested in international relations, has been established in Zagreb.

The Forum was established on 26 March and officially registered on 4 June. Its founders are academic researchers, former diplomats and officials with executive state powers, including former Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusić, journalists and young experts in social sciences.

The Foreign Policy Forum will analyse and examine international relations and foreign policies, and organise constructive public debates, talks and researches.

Since November, its initiators have organised four debates, which drew researchers, international relations experts, journalists, ambassadors and others, on Croatia's foreign policy, the EU foreign policy from Croatia's perspective, EU-China relations, and Europe-Russia relations.

The Forum has announced that former Turkish premier and foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu will give a talk on Turkey's foreign policy and its relationship towards the Western Balkans via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The more information, Forum can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

China Exposes Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism Reality

April 6, 2021 - Numbers, numbers, numbers. Or how China exposed the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism for what it really is. 

Our journey starts back in May 2015, some two months before the launch of TCN. 

I made a decision on one of our early portals, Total Split, to do an interview that I knew would be controversial and probably result in the loss of a number of readers, as well as possibly some 'friends'.

I decided that we would interview 'the most hated woman in Split' and give her some media space to give her side of the story after she had been vilified in the national media without having a right of reply.  

It taught me an awful lot about free speech and hate speech in Croatia, as well as losing us quite a few readers and the recipient of a couple of death threats (or, as one delightful typo put it, death treats). 

And I would do it again, exactly the same with the benefit of hindsight. 

croatian-kingdom-tourism_3.JPG

I didn't know Jacine Jadresko that well, but I always found her to be fun company. I didn't like the fact that she was very in your face about her hunting, but then I reasoned that I was a meat-eater, so maybe I was being hypocritical. Jacine went from being relatively obscure to a national hate figure overnight after photographs of her hunting escapades on Facebook surfaced in the Croatian media.

While I didn't necessarily agree with her stance, I also thought that in a (supposedly) democratic society, she was entitled to present her side of the story. And so we did an in-depth interview. And while the interview did not change my basic opinions on the subject, it did educate me and others (those who read further than the headline, that is) about some hunting issues. You can read it yourself here - Exclusive: Not Your Typical Split Chick...Huntress Jacine Jadresko in Her Own Words.

I thought of Jacine once more after a recent press release from the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, celebrating 60 million viewers on Hainan TV watching a documentary about Croatia. I didn't realise that Hainan is that big (apparently it isn't - only 9 million people), but let's let that thing slide. I checked my analytics for unusual search traffic after the programme aired, as we do rank pretty well for most tourism topics for Croatia. Baidu is a more frequent visitor by the week, but for that particular time, nothing. 

I thought of Jacine.

In the 6 years since that original interview was written. I get random spikes from all over the world in my analytics for Jacine's interview. We still rank well on Google for various keywords, and I have learned that a sudden spike in hits from Finland or Mexico is due to the fact that there is a documentary playing there about her. And as soon as it is over, interested people want to know more. 

So with SIXTY MILLION viewers, how many people would be Baiduing for info about this wonderful Croatia?

Wait, did the Croatian Kingdom actually even offer their website in Chinese?

croatian-kingdom-tourism_4.JPG

At first glance, it seemed that they didn't, but nothing is ever quite as it seems in the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. 

For there IS a Croatian National Tourist Board website in Chinese, which is so well hidden that several Croats living in China are not aware of its existence. 

And it has the best destination page in the history of global tourism

croatian-kingdom-tourism_2.JPG

Before we take a closer look at this little nugget of gold, you should know something about running a website with a big readership. The TCN server goes down occasionally, for a variety of factors. If the site is down for more than 10 minutes, I will typically have 5-10 messages informing me or complaining to me. 

But here, it seems, nobody even noticed. Despite the sensational promotion watched by 60 million people. 

And here is the best bit. Adobe stopped supporting this feature THREE months ago.

And nobody noticed. 

The Kings have an established office and director (who I am told is very nice) in Shanghai, and a potential market of 1.3 billion people to attract to Croatia. And yet, despite all the chest-thumping of another amazing promotion. nobody noticed - or cared - that there was no accessible information about Croatian destinations on the official website. Quite why there is a separate website could be an interesting topic for next time. 

Now I was intrigued. How was the Croatian Kingdom's social media presence in this vast market of 1.3 billion? They must have killed it with all those 60 million people gasping for more about this beautiful country. 

Well... 

I asked a Chinese friend to check out the most popular posts on Weibo (the Instagram equivalent). And she reported back that in the last 3 months, the biggest number of shares for a post on the official Kingdom Weibo account was...

586.

Not 586 million.

Not 586 thousand. 

Just 586. 

I don't use Instagram, and my 12-year-old daughter manages Insta for TCN between finishing her homework and going to bed. She gets more engagement in the 10 minutes a day she allocated to it. 

croatian-kingdom-tourism_5.JPG

So how is the big Croatian promotion going in Shanghai with a full office and director? As you can see from the screenshots from Weibo, rather well. The TV programme DID have an effect as 'most of the posts prior to that got only single-digit likes'. 

croatian-kingdom-tourism_6.JPG

Croatia has a full office and director and 25,971 fans.

croatian-kingdom-tourism_1.JPG

Slovenia, the supposedly 'tiny' neighbour, has no office at all in China and 500,000 fans. More than 20 times more than Croatia, without the expense of an office. But then I suppose they don't get incredible promotion of Hainan TV to 60 million people. 

Quite by chance, as part of our preparation for our new TC tourism website, going live on May 1 in 10 languages, including both simplified and traditional Chinese, my Chinese translator finished the first translation, the Top 10 things to do in Croatia in 2021. It was warmly received, and we shall be doing a lot more of the site in Chinese, both simplified and traditional. 

So congratulations to the Kings of Accidental Tourism on yet another incredible promotion with a huge number. 

As with every other pointless number to come out of the Croatian kingdom in the last 10 years, what does it actually mean?

Thursday, 25 March 2021

CroAsia Institute to Strengthen Cooperation Between Croatia and Asia

March the 25th, 2021 - The new CroAsia Institute is set to strengthen and intensify relations between the Republic of Croatia and the vast continent of Asia across numerous fields.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, a brand new interdisciplinary project launched with the aim of strengthening cooperation with Asia is the newly opened CroAsia institute, located right here in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

As the first such institution of scientific-educational and business character here in Croatia, the systematic and long-term connection of Croatia and Southeast Europe with China and Asia was set as a primary programme task, and one of significance. The CroAsia Institute was started up by the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM), which is already very well known for its cooperation with prestigious academic institutions over in Asia.

The new CroAsia Institute, along with the dean of ZSEM, Mato Njavro, will be led by Zvonimir Stopic and Ivica Bakota, who haven't only received their doctorates in the fields of economics, finance, international relations, history and politics related to Asia, China, Croatia and the immediate region, but they already have a lot of valuable practical experience under their belts. Behind them lies more than a decade of impressive and uninterrupted experience of active work in various Asian countries, both through business collaborations and research projects, as well as as lecturers.

"The CroAsia Institute will strive to provide Croatia with a fresh, new, reasonable and as objective as possible view of Asia and China," said Mato Njavro when discussing the move.

The partners of the ZSEM Institute are the China-CEE Institute, the Beijing Capital Normal University and the Beijing University of Foreign Languages, as well as a group of experts with international diplomatic and business experience who will participate in the work of the CroAsia Institute.

In addition to former NATO Assistant Secretary General and ex president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, other involved individuals include Sinisa Krajnovic, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Services in the NE Asia Market Area for Ericsson, Chor Pharn Lee, Chief Strategy Advisor, Centre for Strategic Futures at the Office of the Prime Minister of Singapore, digital marketing expert Dejan Kutnjak and head of supervision and control for Asia at UBS, Mirko Jurisic.

For more, follow our business section. For current coronavirus information specific to Croatia about travel, border rules, testing centres, bookmark this page.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Zagreb Dok-Ing Begins Production in China, Expects Growth

March the 17th, 2021 - The Zagreb Dok-Ing company has expanded its production to as far away as China, and as such is expecting growth of above ten percent despite the ongoing economic woes plaguing the world.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, along with here at home in Europe and in the Middle East, the increasingly pronounced market for the strategic expansion of the Zagreb Dok-Ing company´s business is the vast continent of Asia. They have recently been present in South Korea, and it seems that they will soon enter the demanding Chinese market.

If the plans to expand into the Chinese market do end up materialising for this Croatian company, as an enormous challenge due to high demand, where the 'law' of large numbers reigns and where the economy is very much protected from the arrival of foreign investors, the upcoming period for this company owned by Vjekoslav Majetic will bring business growth with estimates of at least ten percent.

A preliminary agreement regarding the launch of demining robot production there for the Chinese Government and the Chinese Army can be said to have been reached, so the determinants of potential activities in China through the establishment of a joint venture with a Chinese partner are now known.

However, in order to establish cooperation and joint venture investment, a little more time is needed. A concrete outcome in the form of a contract can be expected most likely by the summer. As things stand after six months of negotiations, the current phase still seems to presuppose the conclusion of all of the the final details.

the Zagreb Dok-Ing company owner, noting that the time is not yet ready for any deeper comments, stated that the head of business development and sales of Dok-ing, Gordan Pesic, travelled to China this week.

Unlike Dok-ing's export placement, which is a world leader in demining robot production with a very impressive share of over 50 percent, the model concerning China assumes a joint investment in a factory with a Chinese state-owned company in the production of cranes and industrial machinery.

This requires the legal definition of positions in the field of intellectual property rights. The total investment stands at approximately 100 million kuna in shares, with investments in the form of business premises of a Chinese partner and the rights of a Croatian company in the field of intellectual property and consulting services.

For more, follow our business section.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Croatia Airlines Flies to China for First Time in Company's History

Croatia Airlines has been in the media for all the wrong reasons over the past year or so. Struggling with financial issues and various problems in finding a strategic partner, the domestic carrier continuously posted losses and was a cause for concern for the state. Finally, something a little different for the air company as it flies to China for the very first time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 17th of July, 2020, although it is not a regular line service, it remains worth noting that the Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, took off from Zagreb Airport, heading for the Chinese Tianjin Binhai Airport. This is the first flight in the history of Croatia Airlines to land in China.

As Avioradar.hr learned, the Airbus A320 aircraft took off on July the 17th, 2020, 1 hour and 9 minutes after midnight from Zagreb Airport, carrying with it 122 passengers firstly to Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport in Kazakhstan, where it had a technical stop considering that the distance between Zagreb and Tianjin is too great for this type of aircraft to complete without stopping.

The Croatia Airlines plane landed in Kazakhstan after flying for five hours, from where it continued its journey to China after an hour and 10 minutes spent on the ground (for a crew change and for refueling). The 9A-CTK landed in China at 12 noon local time.

The Croatia Airlines plane's departure from China is scheduled for Saturday, July the 18th, with its descent and landing back in Zagreb scheduled for 14:30 local time.

117 student passengers were transported on the flight to China, while 74 diplomatic passengers will be on the flight's return to Croatia. A total of 10 crew members will perform this honorary flight, and will switch when the aircraft lands once again in Kazakhstan.

For more on Croatia Airlines, follow our travel page.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

86 Tonnes of Medical Supplies Flown from China

ZAGREB, May 10, 2020 - About 86 tonnes of protective medical equipment intended for the Croatian healthcare system and other services fighting the coronavirus epidemic was flown to Zagreb from Shanghai, China, on Sunday morning, the government said.

It was the seventh, and for now last, shipment from China, delivered by an SF Airlines aircraft. Further supplies would be brought by land and sea.

The latest shipment included 80 tonnes of disinfectant and face masks which the Croatian government bought from the Sinopharm company, as well as six tonnes of donations, including ventilators, face masks and visors provided by the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation.

The shipment also included a donation from the Meheco company to Zagreb's Hospital for Infectious Diseases, a donation from Zhejian Province to Istria County, and a donation to the Civil Protection Service from the CitizenGO initiative and Mr Cai Yu, a businessman who helped with the opening of the franchise of the Zagreb Museum of Illusion in Shanghai.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Croatia and China Engage in Mask Diplomacy, but Who Benefits?

May 7, 2020 - TCN is delighted to welcome Courtney Long to the writing team. With a BA in Asian studies and currently studying Mandarin in Zagreb, some thoughts on the relationship between Croatia and China. Welcome, Number 151!

Last month, a majority of European nations agreed to implement strict quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The decision reflects a worldwide movement intended to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate. As of this writing, there were already 1,436,617 patient cases across Europe and 139,586 deaths, according to recent reports from Worldmeter’s COVID-19 data. In Croatia, there have been 2,088 infected patients as of May 3rd and the death toll is now at 77.

A TCN article published on Monday, April 13th 2020 explained that Croatia has recently obtained 12.5 tonnes of protective equipment from China. This procurement is the result of an agreement made between Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

On its surface, this act of cooperation between countries during a global pandemic seems encouraging. In a crisis, we are much stronger as a united force than we are as divided nations who cast blame on each other. Unfortunately, mutual cooperation can only succeed as long as the international cooperating partners are honest and forthcoming with the information they have.

Sadly, this has not been the case with China. We now know that the government of Xi Jinping threatened both Chinese medical professionals and citizens, insisting that they remain silent about their knowledge of the Corona virus, its origins, and the circumstances surrounding the initial outbreak. This insistence on secrecy and the related citizen detentions and interrogations by the CCP led directly to the situation in which we currently find ourselves – one that is proving to be both socially and economically devastating.

Chinese citizens who defied the authorities and exposed what they knew to anyone who would listen have now disappeared, and news organizations from around the world have enquired about the whereabouts of whistle-blowers, some of the most notable being Dr. Ai Fen and citizen journalists Li Zehua, Chen Qiushi, and Fang Bin. To date, these people’s families and friends are uncertain of their respective fates.

It appears now that Mr. Xi and the CCP are trying to worm their way back into the international community’s good graces by practicing “mask diplomacy” – an organized initiative involving the donation (or in some cases the sale) of Chinese medical supplies to the many nations affected by the Wuhan virus. Recent reports have revealed that the Dutch government has recalled 600,000 facemasks from China for being defective, and other European nations are facing similar problems.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Europe’s complaints with a tweet, stating that recipients should have double-checked the orders before placing them. This is an arrogant and bald-faced addition of insult to injury, and it begs the question why Europe’s politicians, including Mr. Plenkovic, would choose to accept medical supplies from China under these circumstances.

It appears that not only is accepting – or in worse cases, purchasing – medical supplies from China a risk with very little return on investment, but also that the countries who negotiated for the delivery of Chinese medical supplies are learning the meaning of “buyer beware.” India obtained personal protection equipment (PPE) from China and, like Europe, found that it had been given faulty supplies that failed quality testing. According to a recent news report in India, “the term ‘Made in China’ is used [there] as a synonym for defective products.”

Meanwhile in the UK, government officials are scrambling to reclaim the £16 million they spent purchasing Chinese test kits that are now known to give inaccurate results. It’s puzzling to consider that each of these countries has willingly turned to China for a hand-out, with predictable results.

For Croatia, maintaining amicable relations with the Chinese government may be viewed as a practical strategy for now, especially as China is helping this country to construct the Pelješac Bridge. But our government must ask itself what price is to be imposed on it – and on all Croatians – as a result of its willingness to compromise basic standards of justice and decency.

Ideally, Croatia and China will continue to have a mutually beneficial partnership. However, as WION news reporter Palki Sharma observed, now that social distancing is in effect, perhaps it’s time for the world to practice economic distancing with China. Knowing that Wuhan’s wet markets are one again open for business, one could guess either that the CCP has learned nothing from this calamity or that it simply doesn’t care. With this in mind, now may be the time for other nations, including Croatia, to focus on redeveloping their domestic markets, instead of relying on one country with a monopoly on production.

Croatia has openly (and repeatedly) expressed frustration over the struggle to keep its own citizens in their home country, yet this crisis could present the perfect opportunity to incentivize unity among Croatians by engaging them in creating and distributing their own medical supplies, as well as other products, rather than relying on China as a ubiquitous crutch.

Economies around the world are anticipating a depression, and Croatia’s heavy dependence on revenue from tourism has left many people worried about the devastating consequences the pandemic is likely to have on travel. Unfortunately, Croatia’s pride in its coast has given it a case of tunnel vision, resulting in focused investment in the tourist sector at the expense of other industries. Croatia has put most of its eggs into one basket, and now it’s panicking. However, with every crisis there is an opportunity, and Croatia now has a chance to invest in domestic industries, just as Japan and the United States are intending to do.

For Croatia, two likely outcomes are possible. One is that Croatian lawmakers may actually move to strengthen industries here, providing more job opportunities locally and persuading Croatian citizens to remain and return to their homeland. Alternatively, our politicians can maintain the status quo, keeping trade deals with China and scrambling to promote tourism in time for summer. If they choose the latter, they’ll have to simply hope that their decision works in Croatia’s favour while the rest of us nervously wait for the results to unfold. For now, all we can do is be hopeful and wait.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

New Shipment with 68 Tonnes of Protective Gear Arrives in Croatia

ZAGREB, April 26, 2020 - One more shipment with protective gear arrived from Shanghai at Zagreb Airport on Saturday.

The shipment with protective gear, the fourth such delivery in the last seven days, arrived aboard an SF Airlines cargo plane.

The shipment, consisting of 68 tonnes of disinfectants, gloves, goggles, gowns and protective shoe covers, includes several valuable donations - two mechanic ventilators donated by CIMM Group, protective masks donated by Trip.com Group Limited, the world's biggest online tourist platform which is responsible for numerous Chinese tourist arrivals in Croatia, and donations by the city of Yancheng to the partner city of Čakovec, by Nanchang to the partner city of Split and by Sanya to Dubrovnik.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Another Shipment of Protective Equipment Arrives from Shanghai in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 21, 2020- A plane with 58 tonnes of medical equipment arrived on Tuesday in Zagreb from Shanghai, as part of a programme to procure protective equipment from China for Croatia's healthcare system during the COVID-19 epidemic.

The largest part of the latest shipment is equipment procured from the Chinese state companies MEHECO and Sinopharm, the Croatian government said in a press release.

The shipment also included a donation from the Split-based Deltron company and its Chinese partner – Gree Electric Appliances Inc. – for the hospital in Split and local health authorities in Split-Dalmatia County.

Some more shipments of medical equipment will arrive in Zagreb in the coming days owing to coordinated activities by the Office of the Croatian Prime Minister and the ministries of economy and health.

On 12 April, a direct flight from Shanghai brought to Zagreb around 60 tonnes of protective equipment for the Croatian health system and other services fighting the coronavirus epidemic, and that was the first shipment of this kind since the outbreak of COVID-19.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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