Croatia is a small and complex market but plays an important role in the economic and political framework of Southeast Europe. This region, the size of Texas in area, represents a market of almost 60 million people and over $800 billion in GDP. The region has significant potential for economic growth, as its integration process into the European Union (EU) continues. The local populations strive to achieve the lifestyle of the more developed Western European countries that have several times higher GDP per capita.
Located on the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe, Croatia can serve as a regional hub for U.S. companies. Zagreb, its capital, is about a four-hour drive from Vienna, Venice, Budapest, and Belgrade, and a two-hour drive from the Adriatic coast. Croatia has excellent highway network, sound ICT infrastructure, and a competitive white-collar workforce. The quality of life in Croatia is high: it is a safe country, with good food, well-preserved nature, a mild climate, and abundant historical sites and other tourist attractions.
Croatia has been a member of NATO since 2009. It joined the EU in 2013 and the eurozone and the Schengen Area in 2023. Croatia enjoys investment grade credit ratings: Fitch’s and S&P’s BBB+, and Moody’s Baa2, all with stable outlook. In December 2022, the United States and Croatia signed a comprehensive income tax treaty which will enter into force upon ratification in both countries. Since April 2023, in addition to benefiting from the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, Croatian citizens are also eligible for the Global Entry program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. These recent developments have made trade and investment between the United States and Croatia easier, less risky, and more profitable.
There are already over a hundred companies in Croatia with majority U.S. ownership and over fifty U.S. company affiliates, franchisees, and distributors, many of which have regional responsibility. During the past decade, there has also been a growing number of vibrant, innovative entrepreneurs leading sophisticated internationally competitive companies across many industry sectors in Croatia. As these entrepreneurs are business savvy and tend to buy state-of-the-art, cost-effective equipment and technology, they represent excellent potential partners for U.S. suppliers.
Visit the State Department’s website for background on the Croatia’s political and economic environment.