RELATIONS WITH CROATIA DISCUSSED AT A BUSINESS FORUM
Representatives of more than 80 companies from Bulgaria and Croatia discussed at a joint forum at the Princess hotel in Sofia mechanisms for the promotion of bilateral business contacts. The event was organized on the initiative of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The guests' delegation was led by Nadan Vidoshevich, Chairman of the Croatian Industrial Chamber.A bilateral agreement on the establishment of a Free Trade Zone was signed in December 2001. Commercial exchange between Bulgaria and Croatia amounted to USD4,812,000 only in January-September 2001, data of the customs administration show. Bulgaria's trade surplus for the same period was worth USD1,042,000. Croatia's investments in Bulgaria since 1992 (when Bulgaria acknowledged the former Yugoslavian republic's independence) have totaled USD55,982, chiefly made in the 1997-1999 period, after the end of the war in Croatia. There is no data about other investments since then. In 1998 the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) and Croatia's Konclar-Ellok closed a contract for repair and rehabilitation of locomotives, owned by the Bulgarian railroad carrier. The Bulgarian-Croatian joint venture, established under that contract, is expected to start operations by end-March, 2002. The locomotievs will be repaired in the Sofia-based railway plant.