The 19th HBOR’s International Conference on Export Promotion was held under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. The two-day conference in Pula was opened by Zdravko Marić, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – Envoy of the Croatian Prime Minister. The audience was also addressed by Nataša Tramišak, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Boris Miletić, Istrian County Prefect, Filip Zoričić, Mayor of Pula and Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR. On the first day of the conference, a thematic lecture was held with a focus on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), while on the second day, the focus was on three panels, in which several influential domestic and foreign panellists took part.
„ Development banks, including HBOR, are the ones that encourage competitiveness, innovation and an optimistic outlook. Despite the negative consequences of the COVID crisis and rising inflation, HBOR managed to encourage exporters and businessmen and to maintain economic growth trends. This is proved, among other things, by its crucial role in providing significant financial assistance to many entrepreneurs and craftsmen” said Zdravko Marić, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – Envoy of the Croatian Prime Minister.
Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR also extended warm welcome to all participants, announced the start of the use of financial instruments from the NRRP and commented on key measures for the Croatian economy since the beginning of the pandemic.
„During 2021, HBOR worked intensively on the development of several financial instruments within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan with a total value of HRK 1.925 billion, which relate to favourable loans, guarantees and new venture capital funds. We will start with the implementation of financial instruments related to direct loans with interest rates starting from 0.4 percent and interest rate subsidies of up to 75 percent in the coming days, and the implementation will continue until the end of 2026“ – said Perko and commented on HBOR’s important role during the pandemic: „HBOR played a key role in preserving the liquidity of the Croatian economy at a time when the pandemic had a significant impact on economic trends, especially at the very beginning, when its outcome and course were completely uncertain. The importance of HBOR’s role within the COVID-19 Measures is best illustrated by the fact that more than 70 percent of the total amount of loans granted to entrepreneurs was supported by HBOR’s measures – loan funds and credit insurance programmes. And all this from a bank that employs only 2 percent of the total number of employees in the Croatian banking system.“
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan was presented by Gabriele Giudice from the European Commission, Zvonimir Savić, PhD, Special Advisor to the Croatian Prime Minister and Hrvoje Galičić, MSc, Advisor to the Management Board of HBOR.
Two panel discussions took place on the topic of the aggression against Ukraine, in which the following panellists participated: H. E. Vasyl Kyrylych, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Croatia, Mirko Bilandžić, PhD, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, full professor, Vlatko Cvrtila, PhD, VERN University, Rector and Member of the Board, Alyona Getmanchuk, New Europe Center, Director, Viktor Berki, EXIM Hungary (Hungarian Export Bank), Head of Export Finance and Export Credit Insurance, Reinis Bērziņš, Altum (Latvian Development Bank), Chairman of the Management Board, Hrvoje Čuvalo, MSc, HBOR, Member of the Management Board, Marinko Došen, AD Plastik d.d., President of the Management Board, Sergio Galošić, Klimaoprema d.d., President of the Management Board, Mislav Vučić, JADRAN – GALENSKI LABORATORIJ d.d., CEO. Particular attention was attracted by the recorded video message of H.E. Anica Djamić, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Croatia to Ukraine, who could not join the conference online.
Panellists in the panel discussion on the topic of sustainable development, digitalisation and green transition were: Julije Domac, PhD, Special Advisor on Energy and Climate of the President of the Republic of Croatia and Managing Director of North West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, Vedran Jakšić, MSc, HBOR, Senior Executive Director, Christian Milhan, European Investment Bank, Sector Economist, Energy Department, Dajana Mrčela, Saponia d.d., President of the Management Board, Stjepan Talan, Solvis d.o.o., CEO. The closing lecture of the conference: Future of Business was given by Dr. Ashraf Ali Mahate, Chief Economist – Export Markets, Dubai Industries and Exports, UAE (Dubai).
The most attention was paid to the topics related to Ukraine, and they primarily focused on the impact of the war on political and economic activities as well as the ways of providing support to businessmen who have to deal with several simultaneous crises. Croatian entrepreneurs pointed out that HBOR was one of the main institutional actors, with whose help, owing to the quick reaction in terms of the implementation of the export insurance programme and the support in COVID times, they managed to overcome the challenging problems.