Croatia’s Top 10 Exports

Croatia’s Top 10 Exports


Located at the juncture of Central with Southeast Europe and surrounded by Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia plus Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia shipped US$16 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 25.8% gain since 2013 and a 17.5% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Croatia’s exported goods plus services represent 50.9% of total Croatian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 85.4% of Croatian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 6.6% was sold to Asian importers. Smaller percentages were sent to North America (4.3%), Africa (2.5%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.9%).

Given Croatia’s population of 4.3 million people, its total $16 billion in 2017 exported goods translates to roughly $3,700 for every resident in the European nation.

Croatia’s unemployment rate was 12.7% as of January 2018 down from 15.3% in March 2017, according to Trading Economics.

Croatia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Croatian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Croatia.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Croatia’s most valuable exported products are refined petroleum oils trailed by prophylactic or therapeutic drugs and medicines, blood fractions including antisera, electrical energy, sawn wood, electrical converters or power units then exported cars.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.7 billion (10.7% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $1.4 billion (8.5%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.4 billion (8.5%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $1.3 billion (8%)
  5. Wood: $865.4 million (5.4%)
  6. Vehicles: $642.4 million (4%)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $533.5 million (3.3%)
  8. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $523.4 million (3.3%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: $519.9 million (3.2%)
  10. Aluminum: $481.9 million (3%)

Croatia’s top 10 exports accounted for 57.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Croatian aluminum was the fastest-growing among Croatia’s top 10 export categories, up 58.2% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales were pharmaceuticals up 36.7%.

Exports related to mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value via a 31.8% improvement, led by refined petroleum oils, electricity and petroleum gases.

The sole declining category among top Croatian exports was furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings which incurred a -4.7% year-over-year drop.


The following types of Croatian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports reflect the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Wood: US$526.1 million (Up by 3.5% since 2016)
  2. Ships, boats: $141 million (Up by 13.6%)
  3. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $136.7 million (Up by 35.5%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $135.2 million (Reversing a -$337.5 loss in 2016)
  5. Oil seeds: $123.6 million (Up by 59.1%)
  6. Cereals: $109.6 million (Down by -5.6%)
  7. Live animals: $99.9 million (Reversing a -$29.9 million loss in 2016)
  8. Fertilizers: $97.2 million (Up by 17.6%)
  9. Arms, ammunition: $91.1 million (Down by -39.9%)
  10. Leather/animal gut articles: $85.7 million (Up by 3.3%)

Croatia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of lumber. In turn, these cashflows indicate Croatia’s strong competitive advantages under the wood product category.


Overall Croatia incurred a -$8.7 billion trade deficit during 2017 up 6.3% from -$8.2 billion in 2016.

Below are exports from Croatia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Croatia’s goods trail Croatian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.6 billion (Up by 15% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$1.2 billion (Up by 11.7%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$1 billion (Up by 12.4%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: -$630.6 million (Up by 6%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$571.2 million (Up by 16.1%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$445 million (Up by 8.5%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$374.1 million (Up by 32.6%)
  8. Meat: -$333.6 million (Up by 20.5%)
  9. Organic chemicals: -$252.8 million (Up by 37.3%)
  10. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: -$246.6 million (Down by -2.3%)

Croatia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels including oil, particularly crude oil and petroleum gases.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Croatia’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Croatia to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly in alternative energy sources.


Croatian Export Companies

Not one of Croatia’s corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia does list exporters from Croatia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Efke (photographic papers, chemicals)
  • Koestlin (biscuits, other confectionery products)
  • Podravka (food)
  • Rimac Automobili (electric vehicles)
  • Vindija (dairy products)
  • Viro (refined sugar)


Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top 10 Exports and United Kingdom’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 28, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Wikipedia, Croatia. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Croatia. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 28, 2018