PM says Croatia must pursue aggressively export-oriented policy

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Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic has said that Croatia must pursue an “aggressively export-oriented policy” and, being a small country, Croatia cannot be successful unless it exports 90% of what it produces and what it offers as services.

Croatia cannot be closed. In the economic and spiritual sense, we must simply be open-minded all the time. Our shipbuilding industry and our shipping industry are examples of that. But this will not suffice. Our policy must be aggressively export-oriented, Milanovic said at a conference which the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development organised in Zagreb on Tuesday.

Addressing the conference focused on exports, the premier said Croatia could be successful only if it exported 90% of its products and services.

Commenting on exports and imports in the food sector, Milanovic said that food exports were important in the rise in Croatian exports.

As for calls to prevent food imports, Milanovic said that “it is a typically defensive, retrograde position.”

“The import of food is high, and the entire story has no point unless we talk about the important rise in food exports,” the premier said, adding that no bans would help the Croatian economy.

The premier informed the gathering that in the last four years, HBOR provided loans in the amount of 38 billion kuna, and most of that lending was given to export-oriented companies.

He boasted that so far this year, 25 hotels had been opened in Croatia, and most of them had been financed through HBOR-supported schemes.

Milanovic said that hotel companies that were still state-run should be privatised. “Those companies do their business rather well, but it is not enough. They should be privatised, as the state has nothing to do in the hotel sector.”

The premier said that the overhauled docks were operating well and making profits.

He also boasted of the production of 44 commuter trains by the Croatian Koncar company.

Deputy Prime Minister Branko Grcic reiterated that the current government had made a turnaround in the last four years and pulled the country out of recession. He said that all GDP components had been rising, notably the export sector.

HBOR Board chairman Dusan Tomasevic said that in the past 23 years, this state-run bank had supported over 50,000 projects and provided over 140 billion kuna for the domestic economy through various schemes. He recalled that one of the bank’s main purposes was to support exports and that 45% of its lending was aimed at supporting exports and tourism.

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