The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham Croatia) organized an executive lunch entitled “Global trends in FDI – where is Croatia?”. “AmCham continuously points to the importance of private sector investment, namely foreign direct investment that includes the Croatian economy in global value chains and is export-oriented. Job creation, the transfer of technology, knowledge, and work models, and ultimately increased productivity are only some of the benefits of such investments. Although changes for the better are indisputable, companies believe that these changes should be faster. Membership in the EU, NATO, the Eurozone and Schengen, as well as high-quality labor in certain sectors, create the prerequisites for Croatia to be recognized as a quality investment alternative in the heart of the European market, in addition to its stable economic activity, i.e. a stimulating and predictable legislative, tax and administrative framework for the operation of economic entities”, said Andrea Doko Jelušić, CEO of AmCham, opening the event.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Hrvoje Bujanović, pointed out in his address that today Croatia is a very strong, attractive and competitive business and investment destination with record results in foreign direct investment, as well as the number of investment projects based on the Investment Promotion Act. “The Republic of Croatia is achieving record FDI, with 12 billion euros of foreign investment in our country in the last four years. Notably, 2021 marked the strongest year in the last three decades since independence. Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that in 2022, we received a remarkable 239 applications, or project proposals, under the Investment Promotion Act. These projects have a combined planned value of 2.3 billion euros, nearly tripling the figures from 2021,” Bujanović pointed out and added that he is particularly pleased and encouraged by the increase in the number of projects from high-value-added activities such as ICT, the pharmaceutical industry, etc.
Josip Funda, the World Bank’s Senior Economist, agreed that Croatia has achieved favorable macroeconomic trends in recent years and that the process of income convergence towards average EU levels is becoming increasingly faster. However, he believes that raising productivity at the level of the entire economy must be imperative in order to ensure a higher standard of living for the entire population. This is where foreign direct investment can have a significant impact, as it facilitates the transfer of knowledge, technology, and best business practices, all of which can yield positive effects for the entire economy, added Funda.
Bruno Jelić, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director at Coca-Cola HBC Croatia, mentioned one of the oldest investments in Croatia as an example: “Coca-Cola HBC Croatia is celebrating 55 years of its operations on the Croatian market this year, and we can proudly say that we have successfully grown, leading changes and adapting to new circumstances together with the community in which we operate. More than half a century of our true commitment to a sustainable approach to business has created the foundation for the future in which we will raise the bar of excellence again and again and continue to grow, creating value not only for us, but also for the entire local community.”
“Investors are optimistic about the future of foreign direct investment, with 83% planning to increase FDI in the next three years, compared to 76% in 2022. Expectations include greater globalization as well as challenges such as rising raw material prices, geopolitical tensions and instability in developing markets. Focus on high-value-added industries, higher technological and innovation capabilities, greater transparency and reducing corruption are key to attracting investment, especially for Croatia, which aspires to become a regional leader in competitiveness”, concluded Marko Derča, partner, Kearney.
11:30 - 12:00 Registration and welcome drink
12:00 - 12:10 AmCham welcome addresses
12:10 - 12:25 Introductory presentation of the World Bank
12:25 – 12:40 Introductory presentation of Kearney
12:40 - 13:40 Panel discussion
13:40 - 13:50 Q&A
13:50 – 14:30 Lunch
Since 1998, AmCham Croatia represents business interests of American, international as well as Croatian companies. With more than 300 members, employing over 91.000 people, we are the voice of international business in Croatia. We are the first choice of international companies for policy advocacy in Croatia.Join us now