The Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce Hosts a Round Table Business Discussion with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović

The Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce hosted a round table business discussion yesterday with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, his advisors and members of the Croatian diplomatic corps in Canada.

The gathering was intended for the President to hear from members of our business community who actively carry out business activities or have investments in Croatia as well as those exploring potential opportunities in Croatia. Participants shared their experiences in doing business in Croatia and proposals for solving existing obstacles and challenges in doing business there; and discussed potential opportunities that Croatia may want to consider from an investment/business perspective.

The discussion was focussed on transit, IT, import-export activities, manufacturing, and tourism / real estate. Topics included, among others, specific restrictions related to imports of products from Croatia (including, for example, prosciutto and sardines), immigration issues as it relates to getting permits from Croatia to allow Canadian employees to carry out temporary support work for their businesses in Croatia, and creating mentorship programs for the IT industry.

A recurring theme raised by local participants was what could be done for Croatia to tap into the knowledge, know-how and experience of Croats living abroad, in order not to reinvent the wheel.

Earlier in the day, the President attended a meeting with the CEO of Algoma Central, a Canadian company that ordered several ships for the transport of bulk cargo from Croatia. The President heard of their experience and how pleased management was with the quality of the two bespoke ships that have been delivered to date and that are currently operating on Canada’s Great Lakes. This is one of many examples from around the world where the diaspora was able to help promote industries and products that Croatia has to offer and guide foreign investment.

“Canada has one of the largest and most successful Croatian communities outside of Croatia, and the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) gathers companies, professionals, experts and organizations with strategic relations – whether economic, commercial, political or cultural – in Canada and Croatia. We introduced the President to a number of them – including some investors of Croatian heritage who do business or would like to do business in Croatia – and presented their experiences. The Croatian diaspora in Canada is just one resource – not to mention Croatian diasporas in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, USA, and Australia – among others. Questions that have been repeated for many years are: how can the full potential of the Croatian diaspora be put to use, as Ireland did, for example, and when will an immigration policy be introduced that targets Croats around the world, with a special focus on those in South America and younger, educated Croatian generations around the world. The President undertook to consider a number of questions raised at the meeting. Participants eagerly await to see if any concrete responses emerge from the meeting or whether it will be remembered as just another “visit”.

The Chamber will continue with its ongoing work and efforts in identifying counterparties in Croatia that recognize and share the values and feelings of our members as it relates to Croatia and their desire to contribute something positive and concrete to their Croatian Homeland”, said Ivan Grbešić, an executive member of the board of directors of the Chamber.

Photos: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia