According to the data of the Croatian National Bank a total amount of EUR 509 million and a share of 1.5% of FDI since 1993.
Number of realized investments has grown, both greenfield and by acquisition types, says Bojan Poljičak President of Swiss Croatian Business Association. Croatia seems to be recognized as location for more complex, smaller and medium investments. Availability of potential employees, cost comparison, parts of infrastructure and standards seems to underline this, says Poljičak.
- You came to the helm of the Swiss Croatian Business Association during the COVID 19 pandemic, when the entire world seems to have stopped, and now we are waiting on recovery. How do you estimate the global economy will recover in the coming period, and is 2022 the year when we can expect to return to pre-pandemic times?
I think economic and business impact COVID 19 has to be looked on sector and industry level. Clearly tourism, hospitality and events industries for example have been heavily impacted while on the other side IT and life sciences industries have experienced growing business activities throughout most of pandemic. Also manufacturing and logistics are facing different challenges with components shortage and longer delivery times.
Therefore, recovery has to be looked and planed in the same segmented view. There are still number of factors that are hard to know and plan however generally it seems economies are registering growth of business activities and increasing employment trends. It is too early to give any firmer assessments of year 2022 – but in more optimistic scenario broader and more stable economic growth can be achieved.
- You have been in the economy sector for a long time, so how do you see the investment climate in Croatia from this position?
In comparison with other Central and Eastern Europe countries over the last two decades Croatia attracted less international investments. This is especially the case for manufacturing and services investments that are parts of international value chains and are predominantly targeted to exports on European and global markets. At the same time since joining the EU there has been clear increase in interest of potential investors followed by some steps done on Croatian side to improve business and investment climate. Number of realized investments has grown, both greenfield and by acquisition types. Croatia seems to be recognized as location for more complex, smaller and medium investments. Availability of potential employees, cost comparison, parts of infrastructure and standards seems to underline this.
- The Swiss Croatian Business Association (SCBA) was established in 2005. What can you single out as the main goals of your action, what has been done so far, and what are your plans for the future?
SCBA is focused business association with the main goal of being networking platform for Swiss and Switzerland related companies in Croatia. Also we support development of economic relations and companies business cooperation between Croatia and Switzerland. With the newly elected Board we will continue to work on having growing and active members base, support investment and business opportunities from both sides and try to promote Swiss business practices that are placing that country continuously on the top of global lists for competitive business environment and innovative economy.
- From the declaration of independence of Croatia until today, how much has Switzerland invested in the country, and in which sectors did it invest the most?
According to the data of the Croatian National Bank, Switzerland ranks 13th among foreign investors in Croatia with a total amount of EUR 509 million and a share of 1.5% of FDI since 1993. Swiss investments in Croatia are broadly diversified, with a partial focus on the manufacturing sector, and unlike some better-positioned investor countries do not have single large flagship investments. These investments are also well assimilated and often have local management in Croatia. Since EU accession, there has been an increase in investment dynamics despite negative official statistics. For example, various new investments have been made by Swiss-based companies in the energy, electronics, metal industry, aluminum packaging, ITC services and commercial real estate sectors.
- Where do you see room for progress, and what are the most common issues and how to resolve them?
Swiss investors generally appreciate and respect clear and stable rules and conditions. Croatia has achieved progress in many areas recently, but further improvement is needed especially in areas involving issuing of different permits as well as decreasing unnecessary procedures.
- How understanding the decision-makers are when it comes to the needs of investors and how much do they listen to their needs?
Improvements have happened in understanding of the investors needs and some improvements have been already done to make Croatian economy more competitive, for ex. with Tax reform and introduction of some electronic Government processes. There is still number of things that can and should be improved – as already mentioned transparency and predictability of business regulations – to utilize the opportunities Croatia has as potential investment location in European union.