Thursday, 23 April 2020

Croatian Chamber of Commerce Calls for Changes to Measures for Shops

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has started to get itchy feet in the face of the stringent anti-epidemic measures put into place by the Croatian Government and the National Civil Protection Headquarters. The opening hours for shops are giving them the biggest headache.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of April, 2020, Croatian wholesale trade has dropped significantly, more precisely from 8.1 percent (from 9.6 billion kuna down to 8.9 billion kuna) in the previous month compared to March last year, while the situation in the retail trade was slightly better as the amount of fiscal receipts issued decreased by just 2.9 per cent, from 7.3 billion kuna down to 7.1 billion kuna.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce has asked the National Civil Protection Headquarters to lift the current coronavirus restrictions on the operation of all Croatian shops.

"The current favourable epidemiological picture makes it possible for us to be able to open all stores, of course, with the strict implementation of the necessary epidemiological measures. These days, more and more people are returning to work, and most aren't managing to arrive at stores until 17:00, which puts unnecessary pressure on both the stores and on the health of the crowds of people waiting. Re-introducing normal working hours would optimise this and benefit the whole economy,'' said the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's Vice President for Trade and Finance, Josip Zaher, adding that security measures should be determined by the number of visitors relative to the square footage of the shop's premises.

"This will enable the opening of almost all stores without any discrimination, and special attention should be paid to the opening of large shopping centres due to the large fluctuation of customers," Zaher explained, noting that trade is an extremely important activity for the Croatian economy and that we should enable the normalisation of the conditions for it as soon as possible, in order to try to stem the decline in Croatia's economic activity.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for all you need to know about coronavirus in Croatia. Follow our business page for more on the Croatian economy.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Easter Consumption Down 14 %

ZAGREB, April 15, 2020 - Croatian citizens have spent HRK 1.2 billion over the Easter holidays, down 14 percent from last year when they spent 1.4 billion, according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

According to the Tax Authority, a turnover of HRK 976 million was generated in trade and HRK 838.3 million in retail between Holy Thursday and Easter Monday.

Although this is a significant fall, these figures show that the economy has not stopped, despite lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus, a HGK official said.

Given that the said figures do not include sales results generated by family farms whose business has significantly increased over the past several weeks, we can conclude that Croatia is dealing with the crisis well and that there is no significant fall in consumption, the HGK official said.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Unequal Treatment of Truck Drivers Will Lead to Collapse of Supply

ZAGREB, March 24, 2020 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) road hauliers' association warned on Monday that the uneven treatment of foreign and domestic hauliers in implementing measures against the spread of coronavirus would result in the collapse of supply.

"According to information from the ground, more than 60% of domestic hauliers are either in self-isolation or quarantine, which puts an enormous strain on our companies. If transport collapses, the shelves in the shops will remain empty and the consequences will soon be felt by the entire economic sector," HGK vice-president Mirjana Čagalj said.

Road hauliers say that when driving and loading or unloading their trucks, drivers do not come into contact with other people, which is why they should be enabled to self-isolate at home, under epidemiological observation, and that they should be allowed to work as long as they do not have any symptoms.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Croatian Chamber of Commerce Cancelling Fees for Struggling Businesses

As the coronavirus crisis tightens its grip on public health and the gloal economy, the powers that be in Croatia are stepping forward to at least bring more financial ease to Croatian companies and enterprises during these extremely tying and unpredictable times. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which is frequently otherwise critised, is one of them.

As Novac/Adriano Milovan writes on the 20th of March, 2020, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has decided to suspend the obligation for Croatian companies to have to pay membership fees if their operations have been disabled due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The move from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce was also based on the decision of the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia and their measures on limiting social gatherings, social and sporting events, and so on.

''This is a situation where we all have to carry the burden and show some solidarity. We're reduce wages and defering any expenses not necessary for function. The focus of all our activities is on solving the problems of businesses. Our expert services receive thousands of inquiries per day, and the contact centre is available for contact 24 hours a day. At this point, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce is the economic headquarters of the entire country,'' said the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's president, Luka Burilovic.

The Financial Services Department of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce undertook an analysis and made the decision to cancel membership fees for the next three months, or for as long as necessary, depending on the situation with coronavirus, for all entrepreneurs who, due to the difficult situation in which they've now found themselves, aren't generating income.

"Given the current situation, this step is the only logical continuation of our efforts to make life easier for businesses during this crisis," Burilovic concluded.

Make sure to follow our business page for more on business in Croatia. Stay up to date with our dedicated section for rolling information in English on coronavirus in Croatia.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Winemakers Need Stronger Government Support

ZAGREB, February 10, 2020 - The Wine Act has ensured a key role for winemakers and their regional organisations in branding and protecting their wines, but wine promotion needs stronger government support, the vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) for agriculture and tourism, Dragan Kovačević, said on Monday.

Kovačević was speaking at En Primeur, a tasting of young Istrian Malvazija wines at Zagreb's Hotel Esplanade. The event was organised by the Vinistra association.

Kovačević said that Austria allocated over €8 million annually for the promotion of its wines and that Croatia should do the same according to its financial ability.

"For us wine is not just a food and potentially important export product. Wine also plays an important role in tourism and helps in branding Croatia as a wine and food destination. That's why the HGK, together with our winemakers, has begun talks with the Ministry of Agriculture to meet all formal conditions so that financing regional organisations of winemakers and the national promotion of wines becomes an item in the state budget for 2021," Kovačević said.

Citing data for 2018, Krunoslav Karalić, Assistant Minister of Agriculture, said that the winemaking sector was recording positive trends, with wine imports decreasing and exports increasing.

"We will do all we can so that these trends continue," Karalić said, adding that this sector was an example of excellent cooperation between the ministry and producers who had participated in the preparation of the Wine Act.

The new national aid programme for the winemaking sector went into force at the start of 2019, ensuring HRK 11 million annually for promotion in the European Union and third countries and for investment in wineries and the restructuring and conversion of vineyards, Karalić said.

More news about the wine industry in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Economy Heading in Right Direction, Calls for Stepping up Pace

ZAGREB, December 11, 2019 - Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) president Luka Burilović said on Wednesday that the national economy was heading in the right direction but called for stepping up the pace.

"We can be moderately satisfied with the outgoing year. All important macroeconomic indicators are positive. We have yet another record tourist year and our consumption and investments have been growing. That growth is still not at the rates we want it to be at but is enough to make us optimistic about next year. We are heading in the right direction but we must step up the pace - that is the message that we have been sending the government all the time," Burilović said at a session of the HGK Assembly.

Speaking of challenges, he said one of the biggest was a labour shortage.

If the education system does not follow market needs, we will have big problems, he said.

The Digital Chamber project, which is in its final stage and is expected to be completed by the end of March next year, was presented at the HGK Assembly session.

The project is an information-communication platform for e-services intended for HGK members, public administration and citizens.

The digital chamber will make information on possible financing sources more available to enterprises, enable them to better present their products and services and involve them more actively in creating the business climate.

The total value of the project is 28.7 million kuna, of which 85% comes from EU funds and 15% has been provided by the HGK.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

AD Plastik, HiPP, Media Val and OiV Win Prizes for Corporate Social Responsibility

ZAGREB, November 19, 2019 - This year's laureates for prizes of corporate social responsibility (CSR), according to the results measured by the CSR index, are AD Plastik, HiPP Croatia, Media Val and OiV companies.

The AD Plastik car parts manufacturer was awarded in the large companies category, HiPP in the medium-sized businesses category, Media Val won in the small business category and the OiV - Transmission and Communications company is the best in the sector of public companies.

The awards were presented at a conference for socially responsible business, organised by the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development (HR PSOR) and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

Other companies were also awarded such as Heineken Croatia in the category of responsible business and practice in the working environment and Ericsson Nikola Tesla in the category of policies and practice in environment management.

The DVOKUT-ECRO environment management company was awarded for socially responsible relations with the community. The INA oil company was awarded for responsible policies of diversity and protection of human rights.

The Vinag flooring manufacturer was awarded for the biggest progress.

The main theme of this year's conference was climate change.

The director of the energy and environment protection sector at HGK, Marija Šćulac Domac underscored the importance of caring for the environment. She said that climate change has a much greater impact on the Mediterranean area than anywhere else in the world.

"During Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU, we will continue working on strengthening the unique multilateral system and on promoting the 2030 Agenda within the EU and UN," Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said, calling on companies to be socially accountable.

More business news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Large Potential for Cooperation between Croatian and Russian Companies Exists

ZAGREB, November 13, 2019 - The potential for cooperation between Croatian and Russian companies is big, notably in energy, agriculture, the pharmaceutical, food and textile industries, and tourism, the Croatia-Novosibirsk Business Meeting at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) heard on Wednesday.

The HGK has been supporting the expansion of its members to Russia for years, HGK vice president Ivan Barbarić said, adding that the Novosibirsk region could offer a lot to entrepreneurs who dared to venture into that faraway and, to Croatians, still exotic market.

The region is rich in natural resources with large reserves of gas, coal, bauxite and other metals, huge forest resources and mineral springs, and a very developed and diversified economy, he said.

Its leading industries are aviation, energy, the manufacture of textile and farming machinery, electronic components and devices, and metallurgy, Barbaric said, voicing hope that entrepreneurs would find profitable joint projects.

Russian Ambassador Anvar Azimov said an intergovernmental commission of the two countries would meet in Moscow later this month, including four working groups that would define future cooperation in the economy and culture.

He said Croatia-Russia trade in 2018 totalled 1.5 billion dollars and that he hoped this year it would surpass 2 billion dollars.

He said hydrocarbons accounted for 95% of Russian exports to Croatia and that they would like to diversify.

Azimov said 200 million dollar worth of Croatian exports to Russia was expected by the end of the year but that this was still too little, adding that he could remember when the exports reached 500 million dollars.

He invited Croatian companies to be more active on the Russian market. Competition is big but I am confident that there are niches also for Croatian companies, he said, urging Croatian entrepreneurs to promote their interests on the Russian market more aggressively.

The president of the Novosibirsk City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yuri Bernadsky, said now was the time to raise economic cooperation to a higher level.

In one year alone, trade between the Novosibirsk region and the EU went up by over 50%, gross regional product reached 18.5 billion dollars and more than half the industries are high-tech, he said.

The presentation of investment possibilities in Croatia and Novosibirsk was followed by meetings of 25 Croatian and Russian companies.

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

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Croatia's Tourism and Economy Promoted at China International Import Expo

ZAGREB, November 7, 2019 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) on Thursday, presented Croatia's economy and tourism at the China international import expo, which is being held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10.

This is the 2nd edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) with more than 150,000 Chinese and foreign buyers and exhibitors from more than 100 countries and Croatia is participating in the expo with its "Croatia Day" exhibition which has enabled numerous contacts between Croatian companies and Chinese partners, HGK and HTZ informed on Thursday.

HGK president, Luka Burilović, said that the Chinese market is no longer reserved for only the most courageous and that the door to the Chinese market is open for the entire world.

"This is an opportunity that we must not miss and this fair is proof that China is turning to imports and reducing its trade surplus. It is important for us to be permanently present here. Our exports to China increased by 25% last year alone which is proof that we can compete on such a large market. On the wings of good indicators and good political relations it is time for even more concrete results," Burilović said.

He added that last year's expo was beyond expectations and business deals valued at 50.8 billion dollars were concluded and that he hopes that Croatian companies will manage to get a piece of that cake, too.

HTZ director Kristjan Staničić underscored that Croatia's exhibition was awarded this year and that this is the 2nd time this year for Croatia to presented its tourism on such an important market.

Staničić explained that so far this year the number of Chinese tourists to Croatia has increased by 24% in arrivals and bed nights year on year, with China being in second place in terms of the number of tourists from distant tourist markets.

According to China's national tourist board, 200 million Chinese residents are expected to travel abroad in 2020 and HTZ expects the number of tourists coming to Europe and Croatia to increase too.

He added that this year 483 Chinese tourist agents completed internet courses on Croatia's culture, nature, gastronomy and adventure tourism.

During the expo Staničić met with one of the most important Chinese partners, Shendi Group and Ctrip for talks on future cooperation.

Ctrip is the largest online tourist agency in China and the second largest in the world and the largest advertiser of hotels and accommodation in China with more than 300 million users in more than 220 countries.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Openness of Chinese Market Seen as Chance to Increase Croatian Exports

ZAGREB, November 6, 2019 - The openness of the Chinese market to imports is an opportunity which Croatia must take better advantage of, and Chinese companies are expected to increase their investment in Croatia, a Croatia-China business forum was told in Shanghai.

The forum, organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), was held on the margins of the 2nd China International Import Expo. It involved 12 Croatian and 30 Chinese companies and was attended, among others by, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Economy Minister Darko Horvat, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković and HGK President Luka Burilović, the HGK said in a press release on Wednesday.

Jandroković called on Chinese companies to invest in Croatia and said that Croatia wanted to increase exports to China and balance out trade. He said that B2B talks would further contribute to business cooperation between the two countries, notably to boosting Croatian exports to China and Chinese investment in Croatia and increasing the number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia.

Horvat said that Croatia was moving up in the global competitiveness rankings and that this was proof that it was becoming easier to do business in Croatia. He said that the Chinese economy was interesting not just because of its size but also because of its focus on investment in research and development.

"That's why they are among the global leaders in innovations, which are the foundation of and key to further growth in all countries," Horvat said, stressing that Croatia had been declared the most desirable European travel destination in China last year. "That is certainly a great recognition for our country. However, our intention and our mission is to do all we can in order for Croatia to be recognised as a desirable investment destination as well," he added.

Burilović said economic relations between Croatia and China were improving and that Croatia should take better advantage of the openness of the Chinese market to imports.

Last year Croatian-Chinese trade exceeded 1 billion dollars, which proves that Croatia can be competitive on such a large market, Burilović said.

Assistant Tourism Minister Frano Matušić highlighted the importance of the Chinese market to the Croatian tourism industry. "The potential is huge. We believe in even better results, and last year they were 20 percent better than the previous year, which was a record year," he said.

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

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