The construction of a joint railway terminal between Serbia and Croatia that would reduce heavy congestion, relieve road traffic and waiting at border crossings, as well as the implementation of existing projects to improve gas infrastructure for security of energy supply, are some of the concrete proposals, said Marko Čadež, President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC), and Luka Burilović, President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) after a meeting in Vinkovci with experts from both business associations.
The chambers will propose to the governments and relevant ministries a set of measures that can quickly give results aimed at increasing the capacity of the border crossing Batrovci - Bajakovo in order to reduce waiting and speed up traffic. Among the proposals are smaller infrastructural investments that will solve the problems of the capacity of this crossing in the long run.
Čadež said that the average waiting time for trucks at the border crossing Batrovci - Bajakovo is around six hours, which creates great additional costs for companies. Last year, 378,000 trucks passed through this crossing in both directions, and less waiting, speeding up customs procedures, and harmonizing the work of inspection services at all crossings, would make business more efficient and companies more competitive. "Our economies are compatible and more connected than we think, whether it is raw materials, semi-finished products, production." We want to come up with concrete things, with new ideas, but also to respond to challenges together. "Croatia can be a hub for Serbian exports and imports," Čadež emphasized.
Burilović pointed out the excellent cooperation between the two chambers, reminding that the Croatian Chamber of Economy opened a representative office in Belgrade in 2018. "We have only six representative offices abroad. Belgrade office clearly shows how important the Serbian market is for us," said Burilović. He states that the economic cooperation between Croatia and Serbia has opportunities to be even better and that global events such as the conflict in Ukraine caused the same problems for the two economies and require seeking the same answers and solutions.
Important topics discussed today by the representatives of the sectoral associations of the Chambers of Commerce of Serbia and Croatia with Presidents Čadež and Burilović are cooperation in the joint presentation on third markets. Great opportunities for the more intensive cooperation between the economies of Serbia and Croatia are certainly agriculture with a focus on digitization projects and product promotion.
In the first quarter of 2022, the foreign trade exchange between Serbia and Croatia amounted to 378.8 million euros, 106.2 million euros or 38.8 percent more than in the same period last year. Serbian exports were worth 205.2 million euros, which is 53.3 million euros or 35 percent more than last year. Last year, the total trade between Serbia and Croatia amounted to 1.337 billion euros and was 25 percent higher than in 2020.
The meeting in Vinkovci is the result of an Agreement and talks held by Čadež and Burilović in Zagreb on May 9th, and new meetings with representatives of the executive authorities of Serbia and Croatia have been announced.