Exporting guide to Croatia
The Croatian economy is one of the most developed in Southeast Europe. It is characterised by an increasing number of vibrant and innovative companies across multiple industry sectors. These internationally competitive businesses have strong growth potential and could be excellent partners for UK suppliers.
Opportunities for UK companies
Croatian consumers are increasingly sophisticated and affluent, and English has become the preferred business language. The country boasts equal rights for domestic and foreign private and legal entities. It also guarantees free transfer of capital and profit repatriation to investors.
Croatia can act as a gateway to trade with other countries in the Central and Eastern Europe region, a market of over 100 million consumers (World Bank, 2019) which offers great potential for British businesses. In addition, the region is easy to access from the UK and features strong economic growth compared with Western Europe.
Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Croatia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:
Leisure and tourism
Significant investment is planned in Croatia’s tourism sector. This includes projects in hotel construction and renovation, convention centres, campsites, harbours for nautical tourism and theme parks (Croatian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, 2019). These projects offer significant opportunities for UK outward direct investment.
The continuing success of Croatia’s tourism industry has created demand for UK exports to the country in the food and drink, hospitality and experience economy sectors.
Design and creative industries
There are opportunities for UK design agencies to help promote Croatian cultural sites of rising interest, to enhance their appeal to tourists.
A new liquefied natural gas terminal
The construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northern Adriatic presents opportunities for UK companies specialising in project management, environmental standards, special equipment sales, and financial and professional services.
Croatia has proven, yet largely under-explored, hydrocarbon potential. This is both offshore and onshore, and there is a strong infrastructure in the sector. The government’s ambitious hydrocarbon exploration plans are already attracting UK oil and gas companies.
The Croatian government is planning to incentivise green energy production and increase the proportion of renewable production in the country’s overall energy mix (Power Engineering International, 2017). Against this background, investments in production capacities, particularly in the area of solar power, have created opportunities for UK specialists to supply the newest technologies.
Croatia has committed to investing in development of its seaports and cross-European transport network to improve connections with other European cities (Croatian Ministry of the Sea, Transportation and Infrastructure, 2019).
Modernising transport infrastructure
To cope with increasing demand, Croatia is looking to upgrade and expand its transportation network. With a particular focus being placed on railways and seaports, a growing number of opportunities for UK transport specialists and vehicle manufacturers are emerging.
In line with the trend of outsourcing logistics operations, it is expected that more infrastructure projects will be carried out by external specialised logistics companies. This will create potential opportunities for UK businesses.
Demand for UK goods
UK brands are currently under-represented in Croatia. This means there’s significant untapped potential for UK retailers, including high-street brands and sellers of luxury goods and products.
Shopping centre expansion
A number of leading shopping centres in Croatia are planning expansions of their facilities in the next 2 years. This promises to create openings for UK retailers.
Lucrative opportunities for UK retailers have expanded beyond Croatia’s metropolitan capital. Investors have shifted their focus towards the previously under-explored markets of major cities along the Adriatic coast.
Demand for specialist expertise
There are outstanding opportunities in the Croatian IT sector for UK companies that are familiar with EU technical and safety standards and are already providing after-sales service from locations near Croatia.
Stimulating investment environment
In an effort to attract IT companies, the Croatian government is adopting new regulations to lower operating costs for IT firms. This is promoting investment in the sector and creating opportunities for UK companies.
Both the public and private sectors are integrating digital technologies and welcoming new expertise from the UK and the rest of the world, with digital transformation being pursued as a strategic imperative.