Skopje, 21 March 2012 (MIA) - Macedonia-Croatia trade exchange, which currently stands at US$ 272 million, can increase significantly, putting Croatia among the top five countries that Macedonia has largest exchange with in the next 2-3 years, said participants at Wednesday's business forum, hosted by the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce (SSK) and Croatian Embassy to Skopje.
SSK executive director Mitko Aleksov said the event marked the beginning in the implementation of an action plan, developed with Croatian Ambassador Zlatko Kramaric towards improvement of bilateral trade exchange.
The forum was attended by companies from the Slavonija and Baranja regions, primarily from the construction, agriculture and chemistry sector, food industry, as well as companies dealing with technologies and processes in the field of environment.
"Current economic relations between Macedonia and Croatia are based on CEFTA. Following Croatia's EU accession on 1 July 2013, prices of certain agriculture products could be upped. I believe we will find ways to increase trade exchange without allowing Croatia's EU accession to slow down bilateral economic relations", said Aleksov.
Ambassador Kramaric stressed today's business forum aimed towards increase of cooperation between the two countries.
"We are trying to increase economic cooperation in local terms too, attempting to increase these US$ 272 million as soon as possible", he added.
Asked if one could expect some Croatian companies to transfer their businesses in Macedonia after Croatia joined the EU, Kramaric said entities always find new challenges.
"I hope business entities will find ways to resume cooperation. Businessmen from both countries have an excellent cooperation, politics only needs to provide a positive ambiance for faster economic exchange. We want Macedonia to start exporting finished products in Croatia, not only cheap raw materials", emphasized the Croatian Ambassador.
Osijek Mayor Kresimir Bubalo stressed the business forum was attended by 50 businessmen from the city and its surrounding.
"Today we used the opportunity to present the benefits offered by Osijek before Macedonian businessmen. Upon the EU entry, we will make assessments where companies will invest", said Bubalo.