Andrea Perkov : 10 years of Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Croatia

Italy has positioned itself and remained Croatia’s number one trade partner with trade exceeding €8 billion, and we can currently talk about investments in process worth more than €100 million.

Our continuous support for entrepreneurship and promotion of economic opportunities has contributed to the growth of economic cooperation and prosperity of both countries, Andrea Perkov, Director General of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, says for Diplomacy&Commerce magazine,. New investments, new jobs, consolidated relations on the political and economic level are the proof and crown of our work, Mrs. Perkov added.

  1. This year, THGK celebrated 10 years of operations in Croatia. As the director and someone who leads the team, what are you most proud of in your work and what THGK has achieved?

As the Director General of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, I am most proud of our ability to establish strong ties between Italian and Croatian companies and promote business cooperation and knowledge exchange over the past 10 years. We are also proud of the successful organization of various events such as conferences, seminars and business meetings that contributed to the development of the business climate between Italy and Croatia.

  1. In times of crisis, development of AI, new technologies, when energy dependence dictates development trends, where do you see a chance for Italian companies in Croatia?

In times of crisis, development of AI, new technologies and energy dependence, Italian companies have the opportunity to stand out in Croatia in several key areas. First, the development of AI and new technologies provides an opportunity to invest in innovative solutions that can improve processes in various sectors, including production, healthcare, finance and logistics. Italian companies with advanced technological knowledge and experience can provide valuable solutions and services that will stimulate the digital transformation of the Croatian economy. Secondly, given energy dependence and the need for diversification of energy sources, Italian companies have the opportunity to engage in sectors such as renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and smart energy management systems. Italian expertise in the field of renewable energy sources can be crucial in the development of solar, wind power and other forms of renewable energy projects in Croatia. Also, cooperation in the field of research and development of AI technologies and energy innovations between Italian and Croatian institutions and companies can result in the creation of innovative products and services with high value added. Finally, Italian companies have the opportunity to position themselves as leaders in sectors that will shape the future of Croatian economy, providing not only technological solutions, but also strategic partnership and support in achieving the goals of sustainable development and modernization.

  1. What are the most common problems investors and companies encounter and how do they solve them when they want to start a business in Croatia?

Investors and companies who want to start a business in Croatia often face several common problems. In general, facing the challenges of doing business in Croatia requires a strategic approach, cooperation with local stakeholders and involvement in decision-making processes in order to improve the business environment. The complexity of administrative procedures and long-term processes such as obtaining the necessary permits, property registration, tax obligations, bank accounts, guarantees. We also face the still high taxes and duties which are an additional burden for investors and companies. The unpredictability of the tax system and changes in laws can also be an issue. The problem, which is unfortunately a problem for the whole of Europe, is the lack of manpower: The lack of qualified manpower in certain sectors can limit business opportunities. Investors often face the challenge of finding professionals who meet their needs. Insufficient infrastructure in some parts of the country can limit business opportunities, especially in sectors such as transport, energy and telecommunications, but also industry, i.e. production facilities. In order to resolve these issues, for its companies, the Chamber provides cooperation with local lawyers, accountants and business advisors to our members to facilitate administrative procedures and provide insight into local regulations and practices. We also help them find adequate business partners and participate actively in lobbying for improvements in the business environment, including tax system reforms, simplification of administrative procedures and infrastructure improvements.

  1. What do the numbers say – how many new Italian companies were opened, how many people they employ, in which sectors …?

The numbers are definitely on our side despite all the obstacles we have listed. In the last two years, we have recorded a significant increase in trade and direct investments. Italy has positioned itself and remained Croatia’s number one trade partner with trade exceeding €8 billion, and we can currently talk about investments in the process worth more than €100 million. Our members – whose number is also increasing, around 140 companies, employ a total of 20,000 people, and the most interesting sectors are energy, infrastructure, tourism, AI and IT, as well as some “standard” industries, such as metallurgy and wood industry.

  1. What are THGK’s plans for this year, which activities would you single out for our readers?

THGK has a really rich program of activities this year. We listen to the needs of our companies, follow current events and sector trends, so I would like to single out some of them that I think are interesting for Croatian companies that want to expand their business in Italy and with Italian partners. In June of this year, we are a partner of We Make Future, one of the largest festivals of digitization, robotics and AI, which will be held in Bologna, and just to note that the festival had 60,000 visitors and more than 4,000 participants from all over the world last year. We will also be actively participating in the Kaštela Bay Regatta in Split, promoting nautical tourism and the blue economy, in October. We have dealt with the subject of ESG in accordance with the new EU regulations and we will certainly present this matter to our companies once again, and as you announced in the introduction, this year is the 10th anniversary of our work in Croatia, and in addition to the traditional Ita Cro Business Awards ceremony, we will organize a gala event worthy of the jubilee with the Made in Italy exhibition of the best from the world of design, fashion and gastronomy.


  1. Where do you see the economies of Croatia and Italy will be in 10 years, how connected and in what way, bearing in mind the connection of the two countries, membership in the EU, but also the difference in size, development, ?

In 10 years, the economies of Croatia and Italy will be increasingly connected on many levels, despite the differences in size, development and other factors. Several key areas of connection definitely include Trade exchange: The membership of Croatia and Italy in the EU enables free trade between the two countries. Trade is expected to continue to grow, with the increasing exchange of goods and services between the two countries.  Italy is already a significant investor in Croatia, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Italian companies can invest in various sectors of the Croatian economy, providing capital, technological know-how and expertise. Tourism is a key industry in both countries, and the connection between tourism in Croatia and Italy can be further deepened. It is expected that the flow of tourists between the two countries will grow, and cooperation in the promotion of tourist destinations can further strengthen this area. Knowledge and technology are definitely key. Italian expertise in areas such as technology, innovation and artificial intelligence can be of great benefit to Croatia. The cooperation between research institutions, universities and companies is expected to develop further in these areas. Energy cooperation: Given the need to diversify energy sources and strengthen energy security, cooperation between Croatia and Italy in the field of energy is expected to be increasingly important, especially in the development of joint projects of renewable energy sources and joint initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In summary, although there are differences in the size and development of the economies of Croatia and Italy, their connection will probably continue to deepen in the next decade, whereby both countries will benefit from cooperation in various areas, within the framework of EU membership and recognition of mutual comparative advantages.