In the first eight months of this year, Croatian exports to Canada grew by almost 150 %, Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) for International Affairs and EU Ivan Barbarić said at the Croatian-Canadian Economic Forum held in Toronto, reports Lider on November 30, 2018.
Since the signing of the CETA free trade agreement, the Canadian market offers ever greater opportunities for Croatian entrepreneurs, and the very strong Croatian diaspora with more than 250,000 people is an added impetus to enter the Canadian market. That is why we believe that now is the right time to use this positive trend and increase trade exchange to a much larger figure than the current 85 million dollars. This is also the main reason for our delegation’s visit. We have decided to focus on three sectors we consider to have the greatest potential, namely IT, food industry and cosmetics,” Barbarić explained.
The experiences of Croatian companies already operating on the Canadian market are positive. “Collaboration with Canadian companies is at the highest level of professionalism. The well-established Croatian community needs to be used because new opportunities are constantly being opened,” said Petar Šimić, CEO of Primaco, a company which has been working with Canadian companies for many years, providing them with logistics services for the consolidation of goods, customs representation, and transport from Croatia, central and southeast Europe to Canada.
“Our business meetings went exceptionally well, the people I spoke with demonstrated openness and sincere interest in co-operation. We have opened several networking opportunities with potential clients from the Canadian market,” said Vanja Bertalan, CEO of the Burza company, which deals with web development, digital strategies and similar activities.
Marica Matković, Ambassador of Croatia to Canada, recalled that Croatia and Canada are marking 25 years of diplomatic relations this year, but added that the ties are much older. “CETA is a new generation of free trade agreements which do not create the winners and the losers, but are a winning formula for everyone,” Matković said.
The opinion that this moment should be exploited by businessmen is shared by Daniel Maksymiuk, Canada’s Ambassador to Croatia, who pointed out that Croatian entrepreneurs in Canada are successful in all sectors.
Cameron Sinclair, Deputy Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Economy, Employment and Commerce, also stressed the CETA benefits for businesses and added that he would like to see more Canadian investors in Croatia.
The Croatian economic delegation met with the Croatian diaspora representatives. The meeting was organized by the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. “Contact us, we can open the doors for you,” said diaspora representative Ivan Grbošić, listing as one of the examples the Ancona company from Đakovo which produces furniture. They recently helped them get in contact with Canadian partners and are already in negotiations about furnishing one Canadian hotel.
In addition to individual sector cooperation, the potential for Croatian-Canadian cooperation can also be found in tourism. About 140,000 Canadian tourists visited Croatia last year, an increase of almost 25 % compared to 2016.
About 40 Croatian businesses sent their representatives to Canada, including Adria Winch, Poslovna Inteligencija, Aduro Ideja, Konekta Tehnologije, Mobendo, Orgula Group, and Petričević Group.
The visit was organized as part of the HGK project “HR.exports – with HGK to foreign markets”, co-financed by a European Union grant from the European Regional Development Fund. The project aims to further strengthen the presence of small and medium-sized enterprises in foreign markets to increase exports of Croatian products and services.
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Translated from Lider.