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The principal economic activities in the Republic of Croatia include agriculture, the foodstuff, textile, wood and timber, metalworking, chemical and petroleum industries, the electrical manufacturing industry, shipbuilding, the shipping industry and tourism.

Agriculture, fishing, forestry and food industry:

Of a total of 3.18 million hectares of agricultural land, 63.5% is cultivated and the rest is pasture land. 80.4% of the cultivated land is privately owned. Some world famous products of the food industry are slavonski kulen (famous Slavonian salami), dalmatinski pr?ut (Dalmatian smoked ham), istarski pr?ut (Istrian smoked ham) and pa?ki sir (cheese from the Island of Pag). are currently 18 factories for fish processing in Croatia, which produced 12,200 tonnes of various fish products in 1999. Mariculture, i.e. fish and shellfish breeding, is becoming increasingly important. The 1998 output of fresh-water fish amounted to about 5,800 tonnes, and salt-water fish to about 1,500 tonnes. A new production line, tuna breeding for the Japanese market, was launched in 1997. Of a total of 2.1 million hectares of the Croatian forests and woodland areas, 80% are state owned and the rest are in private hands. Conifers make up 12.7 per cent of the forests, while in the remainder oak and beech are among the more important broad-leaved species. The production of food, beverages and tobacco generates 20.6% of Croatian GDP.

Industrial production:

The Croatian industrial sector is intensively changing and the effects of the full scale and strategically thought out restructuring of this sector are evident in many areas. Namely, from privatisation to the strengthening of exports to western markets, development of new products and innovations to existing products and manufacturing processes, to increasing the level and standardisation of quality, satisfying environmental protection conditions, reaching cost effectiveness, etc. . The industry currently represents about 20% of Croatia's Gross Domestic Product, which is getting closer to European Union levels. The value of the industry's production level is estimated to be around 93 billion HRK (approx. 13.0 b USD) for 1999 with an employment level of 293,000, which represents 27 percent of Croatia's total workforce. Industrial goods account for 97% of Croatia's total exports.


Although situated in the heart of Europe and close to Central European capitals, Croatia has maintained a well-preserved natural environment. On its entire territory Croatia offers diverse forms of tourism, including hunting and fishing, health tourism with 19 continental and sea resorts, nautical tourism with 44 marinas and about 15,000 berths, diving, religious tourism, tourism related to family farms and cruising. Numerous cultural monuments, e.g. Dubrovnik and National Parks such as Plitvice Lakes, are protected by UNESCO. From Istria, which is closest to European travellers, through Opatija, a previous jet-set resort of the European aristocracy, to Dalmatia and Dubrovnik in the South, the Croatian coast remains attractive due to a mild climate throughout the entire year.

Croatian Tourist Agency

Building and Construction:

In 1999 Croatian building and construction, an important national industry, employed 68,844 employees in 11,280 companies. The total value of construction contracts carried out abroad amounted to 123 million USD, 97% of which was earned in Europe. In 1998, 12,557 flats (apartments) with a total area of 1,040,000 square metres were built, which corresponds to the average construction level in the previous three years.


Almost 50% of Croatian economic entities engage in distributive trade. This activity employs 15% of the total workforce and generates about 10% of Croatian GDP, which makes it extremely important for the entire economy. Total revenues achieved by this branch in 1998 totalled 19 billion USD (VAT included).

Trade Agency


Croatia has a high quality education system. Croatian university programmes, especially those for science, medicine and engineering, meet the highest international standards, which is attested to by the large number of Croats who have found work in reputable institutions - hospitals, universities, institutes world-wide. In the academic year 1998/99, about 80,000 students were enrolled in Croatian University centres.

Basic indicators:

GDP, bn USD (estimated) 2003. 24.8*
GDP per capita, USD (estimated) 2003. 5,634*
Population, million (estimated) 2001. 4.4
Industrial production (%) 1999. -1.4
Inflation rate (%) 1999/98. 4.2
Unemployment rate (%) 2003. 21.3
Exports, mil USD 1999. 4.280
Imports, mil USD 1999. 7.777
Current account, mil USD 1999. -1468.5
Central budget balance (% of GDP, estimated) 1999. -1.8**
Average monthly gross wage, USD 12/1999. 600.9
Exchange rate HRK:USD 3/2003. 7.07
Exchange rate HRK:EUR 3/2003. 7,58
CNB's discount rate (%) 2/2003.. 4.50
CNB's foreign exchange rate reserves, mil USD 3/2003.. 6,207.83*

* Ministry of Finance estimate
**Ministry of Finance, preliminary result


The legal currency in Croatia is kuna (Local abbreviation kn, international abbreviation HRK), consisting of 100 smaller units, called lipa (lp).

(The name kuna, meaning "marten", has its origin in ancient times, when the marten's fur was used as a trade unit. The word lipa means "linden (tree)".)

Who's Who On The Kuna Bill:

The Kuna, or marten, has a long tradition of use in barter trade as well as pecuniary compensation in Croatia. As far back as 1256, a local currency displaying the kuna was issued in Slavonia - the first known use of the kuna on Croatian coins.
In Croatia today, kuna are banknotes and have been the new form of currency for the past year. Historical Croatian personalities are featured on one side of kuna banknote, with famous Croatian landmarks on the reverse. On the following denominations are:

  • 5 kn - Ban (Viceroy) Petar Zrinski and Knez (Duke) Fran Krsto Frankopan - Croatian noblemen of the 17th Century; landmark: Varazdin Fortress;
  • 10 kn - Juraj Dobrila - noted Croatian bishop who promoted Croatian cultural rights and advanced the Croatian language; landmark: Amphitheater in Pula.
  • 20 kn - Ban (Viceroy) Josip Jelacic - military hero of revolution in 1848; landmark: Eltz Castle in Vukovar, and Vucedol Dove.
  • 50 kn - Ivan Gundulic - greatest Croatian poet of the 17th Century; landmark: City of Dubrovnik.
  • 100 kn - Ivan Mazuranic - first non-aristocrat to be named Ban (Viceroy); landmark: Church of St. Vitus in Rijeka.
  • 200 kn - Stjepan Radic - political leader and founder of Croatian Peasant's Party, assassinated in the Belgrade Parliament in 1928; landmark: Town Command in Osijek.
  • 500 kn - Marko Marulic - greatest Croatian poet of the 15th and 16th centuries; landmark: Diocletian Palace in Split and figure of Croatian King.
  • 1,000 kn - Ante Starcevic - political leader, ideologist and founder of the Croatian Party of the Right; landmark: monument to King Tomislav and Zagreb Cathedral.

Reprinted from Croatia Today, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in USA




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