Great potential to strengthen Croatian-Polish economic ties

ZAGREB, 14.6.2017.

Energy, transport, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism are some of the sectors in which excellent political relations between Croatia and Poland can be upgraded, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her Polish counterpart, President Andrzej Duda, said at a meeting of Croatian and Polish business people in Zagreb on Wednesday. 

Grabar-Kitarovic hopes that today's meeting will result in concrete projects that will not only be developed between Croatian and Polish companies but that can be offered to third countries as part of the Three Seas Initiative which she and President Duda initiated. 

That initiative is not politically directed against anyone but wishes to exploit opportunities for European financing and European funds and other sources of financing, Grabar-Kitarovic said. She added that she hoped that the attendance of US President Donald Trump at the next meeting of the initiative in Warsaw in July would make the connections with the US economy firmer. 

Grabar-Kitarovic said that relations between Croatia and Poland were excellent in the political sense and believes that economic cooperation will strengthen.

Overall economic cooperation is recording positive trends, particularly in trade and tourism. Mutual investments however are modest, particularly investments made by the Polish side, she said. In the period from 1993 to 2016, Polish investments into Croatia amounted to 79.8 million euro and Poland is ranked 26th in foreign investments in Croatia. In that same period, Croatia invested 164.4 million euro in Poland which ranks 5th at the list of Croatia's investments abroad.

Statistics on commodity exchange in 2016 show that the bilateral trade stood at 767.4 million euro, an increase of 9.8% on the year. Croatia exported goods valued at 166.48 million to Poland, down 5.8% compared to 2015 whereas imports from Poland increased by 15.2% to 600.9 million euro.

Grabar-Kitarovic said that these statistics should make Croatian businessmen ponder about them and added that there was room for exports in the food industry, retail, agriculture, transport, energy and tourism.

She holds that Croatia is a good destination for Polish investors which hasn't been utilised sufficiently.

President Duda too underscored the importance of the Three Seas Initiative and in his opinion, it should be directed to strengthening economic and political cooperation by advancing the infrastructure network in Central Europe. Energy security is essential in that regard, he said. He added that the energy, tourism, infrastructure and transport sectors were the areas where economic cooperation could be strengthened. (Hina/FaH)