Croats Urged to Open Subsidiaries in Bosnia

Bosnia’s Foreign Trade Minister says Croatian companies should open subsidiaries in Bosnia – if they want to retain their markets in the country – once Croatia joins the EU.Mirko Sarovic, Bosnia’s Minister of Foreign Trade, on January 29 expressed concern that Bosnia will lose access to the Croatian market, and vice versa, once Croatia joins the European Union on July 1.

The minister recalled that in 2012 Croatia imported goods worth 1.125 billion euro from Bosnia, while Bosnia exported products worth 600 million euro to Croatia, mostly agricultureal products.

But once Croatia joins the club, Bosnia’s trade relations with its neighbour will come under a new regime.

This is because Croatia will start applying EU standards and controls and will leave the Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA, which kept the markets of its members open to each other.

“Some products from Croatia will become more expensive,” Sarovic noted, “though Bosnia can use that chance to attract foreign investment.”

Sarovic said if Croatian companies wanted to keep their old markets and customers in Bosnia, they should consider opening subsidiaries in Bosnia and sell their goods at lower prices there than they would cost as imports.

“If that happened, and if Croatia used the raw materials and the labour force in Bosnia, that would help us a lot,” Sarovic said.

“Croatia would not only keep the Bosnian market that way, but also that of all the countries in CEFTA,” Sarovic added.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the presiding country over CEFTA this year and its priorities, Sarovic said, will be promotion of trade among the remaining member countries and further removal of administrative barriers to trade.

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