Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic took part in a conference of the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) in Cleveland on Friday, thanking its members for their work towards the development of Croatia's economy and society as well as for the strengthening of economic relations between Croatia and the United States, her office said in a press release on Saturday.
Over the five years of its existence, the ACAP has contributed to the development of Croatia-US relations, the president said, adding that Croatia strongly supported their work and saw the ACAP as an important partner which contributed to the realisation of Croatia's state interests.
We expect the ACAP to encourage and promote cooperation and exchange of knowledge in the economy and all other areas important for economic development, the president said.
We want you to encourage a faster and more efficient inclusion of young people from Croatia in the labour market, to contribute to their learning, scientific advancement or preparation for enterprise, she said.
We want you to contribute, with your professional knowledge and international experience, to the strengthening of Croatian-American cooperation to the benefit of Croatia's economic and overall progress, she added.
Croatia and the US are partners linked by friendship, good economic relations and excellent cooperation on the political front, Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Strong and concrete economic interests can give impetus to future bilateral cooperation, and the Three Seas Initiative enables US companies to enhance their existing business partnership in Croatia and Central Europe as well as create new ones, she said.
The president also said Croatia was open to the further development of economic relations with the US, welcoming US investment in Croatia as well as any form of economic cooperation, and saying she was pleased that there was good will on both sides to use every possibility to enhance cooperation.
One of those possibilities is to expand the legal framework in order to eliminate obstacles to trade and investment, she said, welcoming the attempts on both sides to negotiate an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.
Such an agreement is not just an economic issue but has political, diplomatic, geo-economic and strategic partnership significance as well, she said, adding that formal steps could be taken at a technical level to give the agreement greater priority in the US Department of the Treasury.
The president said she had recently formed a task force comprising representatives of the finance, foreign and economic ministries, the Croatian and American chambers of commerce, and tax consultants from the private sector. She called on the ACAP to actively participate in that job, saying their engagement would facilitate the success of the initiative since, as US citizens, they could encourage the Department of the Treasury to give precedence to Croatia.
By working together, in your interest and the interest of Croatia and the US, I am sure we can succeed, Grabar-Kitarovic said.
The president conferred the Croatian Charter on the entire Croatian community in Cleveland for its outstanding contribution, notably in the early 1990s, to the creation of the modern, sovereign and democratic Croatia.