As one of the oldest Euro-Atlantic member states in the region of Southeast Europe, Greece enjoys a prominent geopolitical role as a middle power, due to its political and geographical proximity to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Its main allies are the United States, France, Italy, Bulgaria, the other NATO countries, Cyprus and the rest of the European Union.
Greece also maintains strong diplomatic relations with Russia, Armenia, Serbia, Albania, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, while at the same time focuses at improving further the good relations with the Arab World, Caucasus, China, India and Japan. As member of both the EU and the Union for the Mediterranean, Greece is a key player in the eastern Mediterranean region and has encouraged the collaboration between neighbors, as well as promoting the Energy Triangle, for gas exports to Europe. Greece also has the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor.
“GREEK BUSINESS OPENNESS: EXPORT AND BUSINESS COOPERATION OPPORTUNITIES”
I consider myself fortunate to be writing this brief article for “Greek Exporters” at this particular moment. I am fortunate as the 2021 digital edition of your useful guide coincides with the bicentennial commemoration of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821, a struggle for independence which led to the creation of the modern Greek State following centuries of oppression and foreign domination.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
There is a connection, believe me. For centuries, the Greeks were known for their trading capabilities. The stereotype of the ‘conquering traveling merchant’ was so widespread that in certain central European languages the word Greek coincided with the word for merchant. It is quite a well-known fact that it was the extensive commercial network of such merchants that established the secret “Friendly Society”, an underground revolutionary organization which subsequently played a critical role in Greece’s successful War of Independence.
Perhaps, it is this rich tradition in commerce that has re-emerged in recent years, making Greece a trading protagonist once again. In fact, despite the ongoing pandemic, Greece recorded an increase of 3.2% in exports for 2020.
All successful export promotion policies should have clearly defined priorities, goals, and objectives.
Exports must increase in sectors beyond the petroleum products, whereas services need to go beyond tourism and shipping to include and other sectors with Greek quality products, the creative industry and new technologies. Thus, our government has taken important steps to improve the productivity and technological content of domestic goods, while providing many incentives that nurture innovation.
In closing, I would like to draw some attention to the title of my portfolio: I am in charge of Economic Diplomacy and Openness at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is expected that most people associate this title with attracting foreign investments and boosting exports.
However, ‘openness’ means more than just exports. It actually means the general internationalization of our economy: mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and establishing Greek enterprises in new markets.
I am confident that the Greek government is doing everything possible to create a ‘level playing field’ for Greek businesses so that they can in turn venture out and conquer the world. To this end, I want to wish everyone Good Luck!
United States of America-Greece
Under the US Congress approval, the United States International Development Finance Corporation, will provide a plan of 125 million USD loan to ONEX Shipyards for the rehabilitation and modernization of the Elefsina Shipyards. Elefsis/Elefsina Shipyards was founded in 1968, and since then it has constructed and structurally serviced many types of ships, including the largest bulk carriers built in Greece and military ships.
On January 18th 2023, ANIC (Aegean Neorion
Innovation Center), opened up its gates in Syros aiming to contribute to
the promotion of technology and innovation in the islands region. ANIC,
an initiative of ONEX Shipyards & Technologies Group, South Aegean
Region and CISCO, along with leading partners such as COSMOTE and
University of the Aegean, will constitute a dynamic and innovative
ecosystem in the technological capital of the Aegean, Syros. The
Inauguration Ceremony was honored by the presence of H.E. the
Ambassador of the USA in Athens Mr. Tsounis, Deputy Health Minister Mrs.
Gkagka and variοus other officials. [ONEX PRESS RELEASE]
The Greek Government, through the Acceleration and transparency of implementation of Strategic Investments Law, provides the international and Greek investment community with a stable and transparent investment framework that includes regulations, procedures, and administrative mechanisms for the implementation of major public and private projects. Through the Law, critical factors that have inhibited major investment in Greece are abolished.
The Law allows business people to proceed without bureaucracy, legal framework complexity, and opacity which, to date, have discouraged investors and significantly delayed the implementation of major projects.
The legislation is aimed at the development of investment projects that deliver long-term, high-impact positive results for Greece ’s national economy. In turn, this will lead to the creation of a more modern infrastructure, advanced transport and telecom networks, and better services to citizens. Improved economic competitiveness, job creation, the production of innovative, high-tech, value-added products and services, and the development of environmentally friendly and socially responsible companies will be achieved.
GrForGrowth initiative embraces research, development and investment by Microsoft in Greece. The sustainable project includes data-centres infrastructure, a significant technology commitment to support the people, government and businesses of all sizes in Greece with technology and resources to create new opportunities for growth.
"By a substantial margin, this is the largest investment Microsoft has made in Greece in the 28 years we have been operating here. In part, this reflects confidence that our world-leading data-center technology can help enable innovation and growth across Greek economy. In addition, this large investment reflects our optimism about Greeces future, its forward-leaning government, and the countrys ongoing economic recovery", said Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.
(PRC) China - Greece
Bilateral economic relations between Greece and China aim at strengthening bilateral trade, promoting investment and at further developing cooperation in the maritime sector.
A tangible example of cooperation is COSCO’s investment in the port of Piraeus, with the prospect of making it the most important transit port of the Mediterranean. Today, the port of Piraeus is an international hub interlinking Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East with China.