Croatia and China to Improve Business Ties

Total Croatia News

New Chinese Ambassador speaks about cooperation between the two countries.

Croatia and China must deepen current cooperation in order to have more people benefit from bilateral relations between the two countries, said on Tuesday the new Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming, reports Jutarnji List on March 28, 2017.

“Croatia and China must continue to promote but also to deepen their cooperation so that people feel the benefits of our bilateral relations. That will be my main job here”, said the Ambassador at a meeting with journalists. According to him, Croatia and China face “new opportunities which need to be converted into reality”.

“Bilateral cooperation is our main platform. I must point out that the trade exchange between Croatia and China last year amounted to 1.5 billion US dollars, which is the record so far”, said the Ambassador. That is only a fraction of the 3,600 billion dollars of total Chinese trade exchange, but “we have to be optimistic”. He illustrated this with the fact that 20 years ago China had the same 1.5 billion dollars worth of trade with Vietnam, and today their trade exchange is worth 100 billion dollars. “Croatian exports to China are still small, but they are growing rapidly and it is important to maintain this momentum”, said Hu. He believes that Croatia should not ignore cooperation with selected Chinese provinces some of which are equal in size and power to some countries.

As a tourist country, Croatia needs to work more on the exploitation of its potential and present its beauties to Chinese tourists, said Hu. “It is important to establish direct flights and simplify and speed up the issuance of visas”, added Hu. Last year, Croatia was visited by 100,000 Chinese tourists, “which is almost nothing” given the total number of Chinese who travel, but, added the Ambassador, that was 20 percent more than in 2015. Hu noted that this year that number could grow to 150,000 tourists.

“I would really like for Croatia to approach China in a new way, to view it from a new angle,” said Hu, referring to the financial power of the second largest economy in the world.

As for the “16 + 1” initiative, which refers to the cooperation of China with countries of Central and Eastern Europe, he said that China wanted to see “the positive role of Croatia”. “We are working on connecting small and medium-sized businesses and we would like for Croatia to take a leading role in the association”, said Hu. As for the cooperation between China and the European Union, Hu believes that Croatia as the newest member should use that platform as well. “The European Union should support closer cooperation between Croatia and China, and not only give instructions”, said the Ambassador.

Hu Zhaoming also called on Croatia to consider joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) based in Beijing. China founded the bank, similar to the World Bank, in 2014 and invested in it most of the initial capital which amounted to 50 billion dollars. “AIIB now has 70 members, including the neighbouring Hungary”, said the Ambassador.

Ambassador Hu Zhaoming has MA in International Studies from the University of Beijing. He worked at the Chinese Institute of International Studies and as a reporter for China’s state television (CCTV). His diplomatic career started in 1995 when he was named an official at the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations. He also served in embassies in the United States and India. He is the eighth Chinese ambassador to Croatia.


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