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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

In order to integrate the WTO (entry: November, 2000), Croatia greatly liberalised its economy. For most goods, customs duties are nowadays the only protective measures. There are some exceptions, for instance, qualitative restriction measures as well as quotas authorised by the WTO rules ( in case of a deficit in the balance of payments or in case of a strong threat to the local industry). These quotas (for farm products, above all) are assigned by open tendering. The import of certain goods needs a license, which is delivered by the Ministry of Economy. Finally, the import of second-hand motorcars being more than 7 years old is forbidden in Croatia.
Croatia now uses a single document for customs declarations, on the model of the Single Administrative Document of the European Union ( also used for the transit procedures in the country).

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Customs duties
Croatia applies the Harmonised Customs System. The customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value.
The customs policy is fixed by the Customs Act come into effect on January 1, 2000 and applied by the Customs Administration. In order to be able to integrate WTO, Croatia agreed to lower its tariffs in a regular way during a transitional period of 5 years (2000 to 2005). In 2005, the rights were on average of 5% against 10% at the beginning of 2000. The agricultural products passed thus from an average of 33.7% to an average of 16.4% over a 7 year period. There still remains the addition of rights calculated on the quantities (per liter for example). The industrial products passed from 10% to 6.6% on average in 2000, and 25% of the products take advantage of a 0% rate. Today the maximum limit of the customs duties is 18% . Croatia is member of the CEFTA (Central European Free trade Association)and of WTO. It signed agreements of free trade with the countries of the EU, countries of CEFTA, countries of EFTA, and Turkey.


Import taxes
There are excise taxes on oil based-products, tobacco, alcohol drinks, soft drinks, coffee, personal cars and luxuries. Some Local Authorities also impose taxes (3% on the selling price of drinks in catering activities, taxes on the advertisement).


Regulations governing payments
There are no exchange controls in Croatia. However operations carried out in foreign currencies can only transit through banks that are authorised by the State to handle foreign currencies.


The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Retailers still prevail in the Croatian distribution landscape, there are about 40,000 of them (mainly owned by independent individuals). However, an internationalisation and concentration tendency more and more occures in the sector these last years with the development of shopping centres, department stores and the establishment of international chains of hypermarkets, for instance: Konsum (croatian),  Billa, Kaufland, Ipercoop, Getro, Mercator (slovenian) , Plodine, KTC
In 2004, the distribution sector contributed to 37% of Croatia's GNP.

The Business to Business (B to B) market
The Croatian government promotes the establishment of foreign companies in its territory and created 15 free trade areas. The sectors with a great potential, targeted by exporters, are telecommunications, banks and pharmaceutical industry.


Transportation of goods

By road
The road network extends over 30,000 km, two thirds of which are tarred. The quantity of goods transported by road was 55 million tons in 2004 which was slightly more as compared to 2003(6.1%) . The Croatian government and international organisations such as the World Bank or the European Bank for the Reconstruction and the Development (BERD), gave financial assistance, under the shape of loans, to accelerate the reconstruction and the modernisation of the Croatian road network. In 2006, a highway has been built between Zagreb and Split with an extension foreseen until Dubrovnik.

By rail
The railroad network is 2,700 km and suffered from the conflict. It allowed the routing of 12 million tons of goods in 2003, in progression of 10% as compared to 2002.
Ambitious projects to repair and modernise the railways as well as the rolling stock are in progress under the supervision of the national company: Croatian Railways.

By sea
Croatia serves as a commercial bridge between Hungary and the Adriatic Sea. The main port is Rijeka, followed by Sibenik, Split, Zadar, Pula, Ploce and Dubrovnik. There are other ports specialised for industrial equipment, with terminals for oil and gas pipelines, with installations for shipyards. Rijeka, Split,Zadar and Ploce ports are free zones.

By air
The international airports are located in Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik. The national company Croatia Airlines proposes an excellent European servicing.


The State Office for Standardisation and Metrology (DZNM) is the body which defines the laws of standardisation and ratification in Croatia. The purpose is to harmonise these standards with the European standards.
The European standards are appreciated.

Patents and brands

The body responsible for industrial property is the State Office for Intellectual Property.
Croatia signed the Agreement of Paris concerning the protection of industrial property and the agreement which establishes the World Intellectual property Organization (WIPO). They are a part of the Agreement of Madrid, on the international register of the trademarks.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Patent Law 1999 Period of validity of 20 years Renewable period
Trademark Trademark Law 1999 Period of validity of 10 years Renewable period
Design Design Law 1999 Period of validity of 10 years -


Last modified in March 2007
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