Croatian exporters expect a competent and courageous government that will build a system to stimulate exports and facilitate their penetration onto new markets, it was said on Tuesday at a conference organised by Lider business magazine.  

"Employers and entrepreneurs have resorted to their own means because politicians have turned a deaf ear to our warning that we are going through yet another lost year. Without a stable, courageous, resolute and competent government, it is impossible to have higher growth than the current one," Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) president Gordana Deranja said.

She was particularly critical of all the governments until now with the evaluation that all political groups had been equally unprepared to implement reforms.

"Our politics has shown to be the hardest to change anything and even the greatest crisis in history wasn't enough motivation to implement reforms," she said, adding that the consequences of this are evident in the massive exodus of people from the country, the debt that has reached 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the general apathy seen all around.

She underscored that GDP growth was due to exporters and the real sector regardless of how politicians boast of it being their success.

"Exports are one of the key levers for economic recovery. Even though last year only 14% of entrepreneurs generated revenue from exports, it is they in fact who employ half the work force in the real sector. Exports are the key to the economy and Croatia overall," Deranja said.

According to data she presented, the share of exports in Croatian GDP in the past five years ranged from 13.8% to 45%. In the Cezch Republic it was 64% to 78% and in Slovakia 71% to 89%.

Speaking about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union (EU) and United States and its impact on Croatia and the EU, the head of the European Commission representation in Croatia, Branko Baricevic, said that Europe and the US have 50 million small and medium-sized companies and TTIP will help them enter overseas markets.

Baricevic underscored that it is true that based on TTIP, which could help raise the EU's GDP by 0.5%, the EU will allow the import of American products that are of a poorer quality than European products. He claimed that the impact of TTIP on Croatia due to the small trade with the US, would be only slightly positive.

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