International trade is a significant part of the country's economy, accounting for between 6 percent and 8 percent of the GDP in the last decade. In 1999, imports totaled US$7.8 billion, against exports of US$4.3 billion. The country experienced a sharp fall in trade during the war when commerce with the country's main trading partners, namely the republics of former Yugoslavia, substantially decreased. Since then, the country reoriented the trade sector towards Western and East Central Europe. As a result, in 1999 only a quarter of Croatia's exports went to the former Yugoslav republics and only 10 percent of imports came from these countries. Due to this new trend and extensive subcontracting in the textile and leather industries, Croatia's main trading partners currently are Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. Other trading partners include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, France, and Russia. Even though trade has experienced growth, revenues from Croatian exports account for less than 2 percent of total European exports and import revenues for less than 3 percent of Europe's total. At the end of the war, the trade imbalance increased as the country's
|Trade (expressed in millions of US$): Croatia|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (September 2000).|
imports substantially outstripped its exports. High labor and production costs, as well as high taxes, which make Croatian products more expensive than imports, have contributed to this trend.
The largest percentage of Croatia's exports went to the following countries in 1999: Italy (18 percent), Germany (15.7), Bosnia and Herzegovina (12.8 percent), Slovenia (10.6 percent), and Austria (6.2 percent). Some of these countries are also major sources of Croatia's imports, with Germany accounting for 18.5 percent, Italy 15.9 percent, Russia 8.6 percent, Slovenia 7.9 percent, and Austria 7.1 percent. Croatia's exports include chemical products, clothing, footwear, raw materials (wood, textiles, fertilizers), fuels (petroleum and gas), food products, beverages, and tobacco. Imports include machinery, transport, and electrical equipment, chemicals, fuels and lubricants, food products, clothing, and footwear.