“Croatia has a favorable geographical position in the middle of Europe and as a member of the European Union it is part of the large European market with over 500 million people which represents a great opportunity for Chinese companies interested in cooperation,” said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Shanghai on Tuesday, at the Croatia-China business forum, which brought together representatives of about 30 Croatian and more than 130 Chinese companies.
With his participation in the business forum, the Croatian PM wrapped up his five-day visit to the world’s second largest economy. During his stay in China, he held talks with top Chinese officials — President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang — and held a number of working meetings with Chinese business people.
Opening the business forum, Plenkovic invited Chinese companies to invest in Croatia, notably in railway infrastructure and naval ports, saying that Croatia wanted to increase its exports to China.
“We want to attract new investment and I believe that our meetings will help further development of cooperation between Croatia and China. This forum shows that Croatian companies are increasingly interested in the Chinese market. Let’s hope your talks today will result in numerous deals,” Plenkovic said.
He underscored the advantages of Croatia’s favourable geographical position, adding that Croatia is part of the market with 500 million people.
Plenkovic stressed Croatia was entirely integrated in transport plans on the European level and focused on further investment in the railway sector.
He recalled that the overall trade between the two countries last year amounted to USD 900 million of which only USD 125 million was Croatia’s exports to China. “Our goal is to have a balanced trade…We want to increase Croatia’s exports to China, which is why we are here, to help Croatia’s exporters,” Plenkovic said.
He also underscored the importance of cooperation with China in the China +16 cooperation. The 16+1 format is an cooperation launched by China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia) in the fields of investments, transport, finance, science, education, and culture. In the framework of the cooperation, China has defined three potential priority areas for economic cooperation: infrastructure, high technologies, and green technologies.
“It is a great honor for us to host the China+1 summit in spring 2019 in Dubrovnik,” Plenkovic said.
He also underlined the importance of the decision, adopted by the Hrvatske Ceste road operator, to select the China Road and Bridge Corporation to build the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia, which he described as “the most important infrastructural project in Croatia.”
Plenkovic wrapped up his visit to China by expressed satisfaction with his stay in that country and the talks he held with the Chinese politicians and business people.