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Last Updated:[18-06-2010 00:05:17 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Serbian Businesses Find Croatian Markets Unwelcome

tradenews The Serbian businesspeople feel that though their country has opened doors to the Croatian firms and products since 2000, the Serbian companies are still not welcome in Croatia. According to a story appeared in the Politika, a Belgrade daily and the oldest newspaper in the Balkans, a Serbian fruit juice company owner is reported to have observed that there were many obstacles for the Serbian businesses to be successful in Croatia.

Slobodan Radun, the owner of Nectar, the leading Serbian juice and soft drinks producer, told "Their (Croatian) products have solid treatment here, their companies are buying ours, and we do not have access to their market. We offer products of top quality for lower prices than their producers, but it's not working. Sometimes a company with a special connection can do it, but it’s generally impossible."

The Politika opined that though the government agencies claimed the economic relations had improved, "not even the contemporary trends and sacred international rules of market economy – the free flow of goods and capital – are being respected"

According to the data from the Croatian National Bank, the Croatian companies invested in $641.7mn by the end of last year in Serbia, making Serbia the second largest destination for the Croatian foreign investments. The bilateral trade between both sides has increased manifold from $40mn in 2000 to $1bn in 2009. In the past seven years the trade has gone against Serbia registering a trade deficit of $716.6mn, and Serbia is one of the rare European countries with which Croatia has trade surplus.

It should be noted that, in a recent conference, Economy Ministry State Secretary Nebojsa Ciric admitted that only one Serbian investment was able to succeed in Croatia, when the Swisslion Takovo bought the Croatian Euro Food Market but otherwise most efforts bombed. It is yet to be seen whether the last month’s accord between both nations to remove political bottlenecks and simplifying business processes would translate into equilibrized economic co-operation.

By Jose Roy

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