Economic cooperation between Poland and Croatia had not been satisfactory until this year when it finally took off, the Polish ambassador and officials said in Zagreb on Friday.

Considering the fact that exports have increased on both sides, trade between the two countries may soon reach a billion euros, and Poland expects its exports to Croatia to exceed 500,000 euros by the end of the year.

These assessments were made at a press conference by Polish Ambassador Maciej Szymanski, the head of the Embassy's Trade and Investment Promotion Department, Marek Lyzwa, and the regional manager of Polish national carrier LOT, Jolanta Grala-Bednarcik, who announced restoration of direct flights between Zagreb and Warsaw as of January 2 after a six-month pause.

Poland as a state and its economy have been advancing in every respect for years, Szymanski said, noting that his country's GDP had not declined even at the time of the biggest economic crisis. Its lowest growth rate was 0.5 per cent and its current growth rate is between 3 and 3.5 per cent, he added.

Despite all the excellent trends, we were not pleased with the volume of economic cooperation with Croatia, but this year shows that things have finally started moving and that both Polish exports to Croatia and Croatian exports to Poland are growing, the ambassador said.

Croatian exports to Poland in the first three quarters of 2015 increased by 60 per cent compared with the same period of 2014.

Lyzwa said that in the first nine months of this year Polish exports to Croatia increased by 43 per cent compared with last year to 414 million euros, of which a third accounted for agricultural and food products and 26 per cent for electromechanical products.

Poles have also increased exports in furniture and household furnishings, as well as in silver, raspberries and blackcurrant, yachts, skylights and pallets.

Poland is a promising partner to Croatia, as shown by the rise in trade and investment. Lyzwa said, adding that Croatia's Orbico has taken over a large distribution company in Poland, Dalekovod is building extremely important high-voltage infrastructure and the Pliva pharmaceutical company owns a company in Poland.

On the other hand, the Polish logistics company C.Hartwig is investing in the port of Rijeka and plans to open offices in Rijeka and Zagreb in February for the transport of goods from the Baltic Sea to this northern Adriatic port and from there around Europe and the world, Lyzwa said, noting that cooperation is also being planned in joint infrastructure projects.

He said that Polish companies were also present in Croatia's environmental protection sector and had been involved in setting up more than 3,000 wastewater purification plants. They were planning long-term greenfield and other types of investment in factories that would hire several hundred people.

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