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Croatia plans three-year, four-prong strategy to boost exports

Croatia plans a three-year, four-prong strategy to increase exports in a bid to create „sustainable” economic growth as the country aims to join theEuropean Union and later adopt the euro.

„There can be no sustainable economic growth without export growth,” Nadan Vidosevic, head of the Croatian Chamber of Economy said today at a news conference in the capital Zagreb. „Our growth is entirely generated by domestic demand and that cannot last.” The three-year strategy will focus on increasing the number of exporters by 25%, improving competitiveness, exporting products with more value added and creating six industry clusters of exporters such as textile makers and wood product companies, Economy Minister Branko Vukelic said.

Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and then fought a four-year war with ethnic Serbs on its territory that caused it to fall behind other former communist countries such as Hungary and Slovakia in joining the EU. It relies on consumer spending, tourism and investment mainly by the state for economic growth. The Croatian economy grew 4.7% in the Q3 last year, up from 3.6% in the second. Its trade deficit amounted to $10.3 billion at the end of November 2006, up 14.4% from the same period the year before. Imports were 47.4% covered by exports, according to statistical office data. (Bloomberg)