Croatia and the UK have never been major trade partners, statistics show. However, as Croatia approaches 1st July, the date of its EU accession, both countries are gearing up to increase British-Croatian trade.

Between 1993 and 2011, the year Croatia’s EU membership was announced, trade between Croatia and the UK was relatively low. Imports from Croatia to the UK reached a high of £165m in 2011, while exports to Croatia peaked in 2008 at £383m, according to figures released by the UK Parliament during the debate about Croatia’s EU membership.

As Croatia approaches its EU accession it is looking to increase business with the UK. Various organisations, including the British-Croatian Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), are taking measures to encourage British businesses to explore Croatia.

The British Embassy in Zagreb is targeting businesses in the UK to pursue opportunities in Croatia. The embassy is providing an event venue for British companies to use when visiting Zagreb and offers to share business contacts in Croatia with British companies.

The British Embassy also emphasises Croatia’s stable currency and low inflation rate. Croatia will not automatically become part of the Eurozone on 1st July, and its currency remains the Croatian kuna for the time being.

According to the UKTI, the most important sector in Croatia is tourism. Areas of future growth include infrastructure, urban regeneration and energy.

Conservative MP David Lidington, the UK’s Minister for Europe, says, ‘joining the EU will give Croatia full access to the European single market, helping boost trade and thereby enhancing its internal growth prospects. Importantly for the UK, it will also open up opportunities for British businesses to benefit from increased trade and investment opportunities.’

Since the announcement that Croatia would become part of the EU, UKTI has created a guide to doing business in Croatia.

Figures provided by UK Parliament.

Photo courtesy of Grant Thornton.

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