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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 28,322 22,421 20,300 61
GNI per capita
 US $ 5,350 4,640 4,550 70
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 103- (28/11/05)

EU negotiations start
Croatia became the first country from the Western Balkans region to launch EU membership talks on October 3rd. The prime minister at the head of Croatia's government, Ivo Sanader, believes EU membership negotiations will take some 2 or 3 years and that the country will be able to join the European family in 2007. 
Croatia later entered technical negotiations with EU's executive body to compare the level of national legislation compatibility with that of European bloc.
Croatia has received general approval, from the EU's executive body, on its political and economic developments, but was urged to step up efforts to improve some shortcomings. "Croatia is generally doing well in transposing and implementing EU legislation, but it still needs to make important efforts to reform the judicial system, to fight corruption, to improve the situation of minorities and to facilitate refugees' return, as well as to strengthen the administrative structures for the enforcement of the acquis." Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner in charge of 25-nation bloc enlargement, told members of the European Parliament recently in Strasbourg. 

Full cooperation with ITCY required
EU member states agreed to open the talks, which were first postponed in March, following the report of ICTY's Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte at which she stated that Croatia was fully cooperating with the court. General Gotovina is charged on alleged crimes against Serbian civilians in 1995 in the Croatian region of Krajina. EU has warned the membership talks can be suspended at any moment, if it finds that the Croatian government is decreasing its cooperation with the court. 
The European Commission said that it will monitor Croatian authorities on their efforts on the whereabouts of the fugitive former general, indicted by the UN court (ICTY) for war crimes. "Needless to say, Croatia must maintain full cooperation with ICTY so that the remaining Croatian fugitive is finally brought to justice; we shall monitor this commitment closely." 

US Congress Committee backs NATO entry for Croatia
The US needs all the friends it can get these days. It is hardly surprising that it is inclined to look benignly on the idea of Croatia joining NATO.
The Committee on International Relations of the US Congress House of Representatives in early November unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that Croatia be admitted to NATO as soon as possible in acknowledgement of the progress the country had made in meeting the membership criteria and significantly improving its cooperation with the Hague war crimes tribunal.
The resolution was moved by Congressman Elton Gallegly of California, who chairs the Sub-committee on Europe of the Committee on International Relations. The resolution was co-sponsored by Congressmen George Radanovich and Peter Visclosky, who co-chair the Congressional Croatian Caucus.
The document will now be sent to the House of Representatives, which is expected to discuss it shortly.
The draft resolution praises Croatia for progress in meeting the political, economic and military criteria for NATO membership and recommends that the country be invited to join NATO as a full member as soon as possible.
Croatia is described in the resolution as a reliable partner to the United States and a country contributing to the stabilisation of Southeastern Europe.
Since it gained independence, they asserted Croatia has made significant progress in the strengthening of democratic institutions and respect for human rights and the rule of law, it has contributed to the fight against global terrorism and met the criteria from NATO's Membership Action Plan, as well as constructively participated in the US-Adriatic Charter, reads the resolution.
Croatia is also commended for having very recently improved its position with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague and agreed to take steps to locate the remaining fugitive indictee, General Ante Gotovina, and transfer him to The Hague.
The resolution clearly differs from the position of the State Department, which has said that Croatia's membership of NATO should be made conditional on Gotovina's arrest and extradition. The US Under-secretary for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, said in October that Croatia would not become a member of NATO until Gotovina was arrested and transferred to The Hague.

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Croatia seeks trade ties with India 

In a bid to increase its trade with non-EU nations which stands at barely 15 percent, Croatia has put India high on its priority list of countries in Asia for doing trade, The Hindu reported.
"Croatia was keen on Indian investments in green-field projects," Vladmir Vrankovic, State Secretary, Croatian Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship said in New Delhi while addressing the joint session of the eighth India-Croatia joint committee organised by FICCI. Listing the priority areas of the Croatian economy, he said ship-building, processing industry, tourism, agriculture and developmental projects in the field of road and railway construction, energy and telecommunications were the major areas where the scope for the trade existed. Stating that 80 percent of the Croatia's foreign trade was based on the free trade principle, Vrankovic offered a business-friendly environment and incentives for FDI. Speaking on the same occasion, N M Kejriwal, Chairman India-Croatia Joint Business Council, said business possibilities between the two countries should be explored in the food sector, tourism and pharmacy.

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