Croatian Exports to Serbia Fall Behind Imports

Total Croatia News

For the first time in many years, Serbia exports more to Croatia than vice-versa.

According to the Serbian Statistical Office, in July this year, for the first time since the end of the 1990s war Serbia recorded a surplus in trade with Croatia, reports on September 23, 2016.

Croatia’s advantage in trade has been slowly but surely melting for the past few years. The data reveal that, in the first seven months of this year, Croatia exported goods to Serbia worth 244 million euros, while the imports reached 256 million euros, which means there was a trade deficit of 12 million euros. Croatia’s Central Bureau of Statistics still has no data for July. The latest data, which cover the first six months of the year, showed that Croatia had a trade surplus of 45 million euros.

Darinko Bago, head of the Association of Croatian Exporters, is not surprised with this trend and points out that two years ago he said that Croatia would have a trade deficit with both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia due to food imports. “The problem is that in the last four or five years we have not been systematically working on increasing exports and reducing imports. Our agricultural production, starting from dairy products, has been devastated, so it is to be expected that we would import food products from these countries”, says Bago.

He explains that Serbia is a strong manufacturer in certain segments and is taking care of its exports. “We have an increase in both imports and exports since we are importing more products from the EU, which we then export to neighbouring countries. Clearly, there is very little added value”, he says.

Bago adds that people should take into account the fact that thousands of dairy farms have been closed in Croatia. This milk now needs to be imported, and similar situation is with other dairy products. “The situation is very problematic. There is also this story about the growth of tourism. Most of tourists go to private accommodation facilities and these are the people who buy imported goods in Croatia. There is no recovery of personal consumption in Croatia, since the money is actually being spent by foreigners”, says Bago.

Since Croatia mostly imports food from Serbia, it should be noted that the growth of imports was also a consequence of the good tourist season this year. Tourists on the Adriatic coast buy and spend a lot of products, and local companies increasingly buy goods from the neighbouring country.

In terms of individual countries, Serbia has trade surplus with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, and has large trade deficits with China (due to imports of mobile phones and laptops) and Russia due to gas imports.


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