COMMENTARY: Government’s Export Action Plan 2014-2015 – “Too Little Too Late”
Less than two weeks ago and with public fanfare, the Croatian government approved a national Export Action Plan for the period 2014-2015, drafted by the National Commission for the Internationalisation of the Croatian Economy, whose primary goal is to support Croatia’s exporters.
The commission is a wide ranging body comprised of representatives from ministries, the President’s Office, the Croatian Bank of Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), state investment agencies AIK and HAMAGInvest, the Croatian National Bank (HNB), the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), the Croatian Employer’s Association (HUP), the Croatian Exporter’s Association, etc.
The plan appears to be an integral part of the government’s intention of reinvigorating the country’s economic diplomacy to be led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister Vesna Pusic (HNS). Aside from additional financial influx through the HBOR, the action plan funnels all export diplomacy and activity through the ministry and appears to be more centralised and controlled public relations plan, as opposed to concrete measures to support exporters and reduce Croatia’s trade deficit.
Exporters Employ Half of Croatia’s Workers
After two and a half years into this government’s mandate and the next parliamentary elections regularly scheduled for mid to late 2015, it is disheartening that the government has spent such a long time discussing, negotiating and drafting such an action plan that focuses primarily on promotion in a sector that is so strategically important for the rejuvenation of Croatia’s economy – a sector that needs to rise out of its financial difficulties, become competitive, and lead the Croatian out of its prolonged recession since 2009…