After five years of recession, most countries in the region have returned to positive growth. According to estimates, this trend will apply to all of them by 2016. However, it is important to keep in mind that countries in this region fall into two categories: those with annual GDP of more than $7000 per capita and a diversified economy with multiple industry sectors, and those whose economic growth depends on a single sector, namely agriculture.
Close ties with the rest of Europe
With more than half the countries belonging to the European Union, the region has special trade relationships with the rest of Europe, primarily because of multiple subsidies which encourage investment in the sectors concerned.
Eastern Europe’s three flagship sectors
The key sectors of these 13 countries are services, manufacturing and agriculture.
The services sector accounts for more than half the GDP of each country, with tourism and hospitality representing a major portion (over 50%). But new technologies and R&D are gaining ground thanks to a highly skilled and relatively cheap labour force.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry has several strong individual sectors, including automobile parts, construction, state-of-the-art shipyards and mechanical engineering (Croatia is the world’s sixth biggest boat manufacturer while mechanical engineering is the leading sector in the Czech Republic). The textile sector is also robust, especially in Bulgaria and Romania.
In the agricultural sector, the market is dominated by cereal, fruit and vegetable production (Poland is European leader in fruit & vegetable exports). Forestry and wine production are also expanding rapidly.
There are many similarities between each country in the region but each has its own sector characteristics, which is why they complement each other so well.