Relations between Croatia and China in the last three decades were stale despite many efforts to intensify economic cooperation. Recently, the pace of political cooperation between the two countries has accelerated in the broader context of the so-called 17+1 initiative between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
In 2017, the first notable Chinese investment was realized in Croatia in the tourism sector. That same year, a Chinese consortium won a public tender partially financed by the European Union (EU). This implied that Croatia would be the first country in the EU to implement a politically important transport infrastructure project with a Chinese contractor using European public funding. The development raised an important question of reviewing the Chinese presence in Croatia.
This paper provides a review of economic relations between Croatia and China, including trade and investment trends, followed by case studies of corrosive capital financing or financing affected by potential long-term Chinese political influence in Croatia. It also offers recommendations to counter corrosive capital and promote constructive capital influx into Croatia, with the private sector in mind.
The publication is supported by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). CIPE is not responsible for the content of this publication, or for any use that may be made of it. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) alone. These views do not necessarily reflect those of CIPE.
Nina Pejič is a PhD candidate and a Junior Researcher at the Center of International Relations, University of Ljubljana, studying the Chinese rise in the political and economic realm, focusing especially on technological aspects of its growth. In 2020, she took over the role of the Head of the Research Unit at EARL – East Asia Resource Library at the University of Ljubljana.