Accession to the European Union has facilitated and improved the operations of a majority of bigger Croatian companies, notably in the farming and fishing sectors and in the food industry, which have reported increases in exports of 64% and 62% respectively, shows a survey covering 316 companies, conducted by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

The purpose of the survey was to assess how much the country's accession to the EU three years ago has affected their business operations, notably in the EU market, and which sectors have adapted faster to business operations in that market.

Ninety-three percent of the surveyed companies were in the category of small and medium companies and 7% were in the category of big companies.

The survey shows that 60% of the surveyed companies do business in the EU market, 20% do not do business there but plan to, while 20% do not do business in the EU market and do not intend to due to the nature of their business.

Big companies are considerably more present on the joint market, owing to their greater financial potential and a higher level of investments in improvement of their competitiveness, shows the survey.

The companies that are the most present on the EU market are companies from the chemical, wood, metal and food-processing industries. All surveyed chemical companies are present on the EU market while the presence of companies from the other above-mentioned sectors exceeds 80%.

Companies that are the least present on the joint market are municipal service companies (8%) - which is understandable given the nature of their line of business - and companies from the construction and financial sectors, with shares of 26% and 47% respectively.

Thirty-seven percent of the surveyed companies started exporting to the EU after the country's accession, and this percentage does not cover companies that did so also before EU accession, while 40% of the surveyed companies increased their exports to the EU market. Thirty-eight percent of the interviewed companies have been recording increased export revenues in recent years.

Two of three interviewed businesses confirm business conditions on the single market have significantly facilitated their operations.

The best results were reported by big companies, of which 50% have started to export to the EU market, 64% have increased their exports and 59% have seen an increase in their export revenues.

On the other hand, only 28% of mico companies have started to export to the EU market, 27% have increased their exports and 26% report higher export revenues. Small and medium companies report even results, of about 40% in each category, with small companies leading in each category by one to two percentage points.

The best results were reported by companies in the farming and fisheries sectors and the food industry, with increases in exports of 64% and 62% respectively.

Weak increases in the export of goods and services as well as in export revenues were reported in companies specialising in communal services, construction, commerce and other activities, with the maximum increase in exports and export revenues standing at 30%.

Slightly more than one-third of the surveyed companies (37%) said their business operations had not benefited from accession to the EU.

Sixty-three percent of all interviewed companies have been doing business more easily after the country joined the EU, notably big companies with more than 250 employees, of which 73% said their business operations had been facilitated by Croatia's EU accession. This view was shared by 71% of small companies and 65% of medium companies.

Fifty percent of the surveyed micro companies said EU accession had facilitated their business operations.

Companies in the IT and telecommunications sectors reported the greatest improvement of their business operations. More than 80% of those interviewed in the metal and food-processing industries and in the farming and fishing sectors said EU accession had facilitated their operation in the single market.

Eighty-four percent of all respondents said EU accession was important or very important for their business while 14% claimed the fact that the country had joined the EU was irrelevant for their business.

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