Andrea Perkov, Italian-Croatian Chamber Of Commerce : Improving relationships at all levels

Italy has positioned itself as the first trading partner by imports and second in terms of exports and ranks third for direct investments in Croatia.

Since Croatia’s accession to the EU, these relations have gradually developed even more strongly, thanks to the diplomatic efforts of both countries, economic co-operation, investments, for Diplomacy&Commerce says Andrea Perkov Secretary General of Italian-Croatian Chamber Of Commerce. Joint development strategies are being strengthened especially in the Adriatic zone through several initiatives such as the Adriatic Ionian.


  1. Speaking of economic cooperation, how do you see it today, after the COVID 19 pandemic, with the on-going war in Ukraine? What do the numbers say?

We are used to opening production facilities in distant markets, which in the period of the pandemic turned out to be bad, so now we have a great interest in looking at new and closer markets. Our proximity, membership in the union, language skills and geostrategic position of Croatia are advantages those Italian entrepreneurs have recognized. Our chamber is witnessing an increased number of inquiries precisely for connecting with Croatian companies either in imports or exports, but also in direct investments. When we talk in numbers, we break records and Italy has positioned itself as the first trading partner by imports and second in terms of exports and ranks third for direct investments in Croatia.


  1. In which industries and areas do you see room for progress and development of economic cooperation?

When we look at the sectors for the development of economic cooperation, I certainly want to highlight the infrastructure and construction sector in which Italy has aggravated experience, knowledge, and technology and unfortunately, consequently, earthquakes, but also strategic development of infrastructure in Croatia, there is a great need. I must also say that there is already a strong cooperation here, but I also know that there is still a lot of room to strengthen. The second economic branch is certainly the development of innovation and high technologies, in which Italy invests huge resources and is among the leaders in the world. We should never forget the food industry agriculture and what I want to highlight are renewable energy sources and energy production in general, circular economy in industrial processes and sustainable processes.

  1. What is the ratio of import, export, investments between Italy and Croatia?

The value of exports of Croatian raw materials in the first six months of 2021 amounted to HRK 65.8 billion, which is 27.1 percent more than in the same period in 2020, imports, on the other hand, increased by 18.3 percent of HRK 99.6 billion in total, data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The recovery of foreign trade in Croatia is positive after the pandemic and the partial closure of the economy in the last year. In the first six months of this year, the foreign trade deficit increased by HRK 1.4 billion compared to the same period of the previous year and reached a value of HRK 33.7 billion.


  1. How do you cooperate with decision makers and to what extent are they willing to hear the problems of businessmen?

One of the goals of our chamber is certainly to improve the dialogue between policymakers and Italian entrepreneurs and at this level of the entire Italian system, we work intensively. Our obligation is to protect the interests of those we represent, which sometimes means to point out problems, omissions, and shortcomings, but also to make solutions and proposals. There is room to strengthen the dialogue, especially in listening to the “voice from the field”, businessmen with whom we are in daily contact. I think we should be more involved when making decisions that are important for everyone who deals with the economy, because we know what really afflicts entrepreneurs because, in some way, we are their voice. Therefore, I must stress the cooperation with colleagues from other international chambers as well as colleagues from the CeA, with whom we work closely.