The UK Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Green has said that Croatia needs to present itself as a country for oil and gas business and also the high-tech sector, and not just as a tourist destination that annually attracts 400,000 British tourists if it hopes to attract more investment from the UK.
Lord Green spoke to daily Vecernji list during his recent visit to Croatia where he met with government officials, business people and economists. Lord Green stressed that Croatia also has to “offer a policy and decision-making framework which is both transparent and clear,” to help attract more investment.
“Croatia has to offer a lot more (than tourism), for example in the gas and oil business, the hi-tech sector. It is not just about one sector but in a lot of different fields. I would like to see a lot more connections between small Britsih and Croatia companies who will invest in Croatia. It does not only have to be large companies who invest,” said Green.
The largest sector of direct investment into Croatia last year from Britain was in the real estate sector, and Green thinks there is more potential than with just the tourists it attracts each year.
The 400,000 British tourists who visited Croatia in 2012 spent significantly less than what British investors did in Croatia. Croatia has not been a traditional market for Great Britain, and vice versa, especially when Croatia was outside of the single European market. Not knowing our market, and many other constraints such as the size of the market, the low purchasing power, market saturation and business conditions, has surely put British investors off from investing in Croatia,” said Domagoj Jurcic from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
In the last 20 years investment from the UK into Croatia has just been a little over 366 million euros. In terms of value of investment from overseas into Croatia, the UK sit in 14th position, behind Luxembourg, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland. The UK are well behind Croatia’s largest investors – Austria, who since 1993 have invested 20 times more than the Brits. Besides the British avoiding Croatia as a nation to invest in, the two nations have not had a lot of trade over the years. From 2000 to 2012 Croatia and the UK have traded in total 93 million dollars worth of goods only, with Croatia importing a lot more than it exported, says Poslovni puls.