BUSINESS

Greek exports do well in the US

Official data show that Greece dominates American market of olives, bass, bream, beans, pipes and razors By Dimitra Manifava

Greece is the No 1 supplier to the United States in terms of a number of products, mainly in the food and agricultural sectors, and among the top suppliers for industrial goods from pipes to razors. In certain categories of foodstuffs Greece has even managed to successfully fight off competition from trade giants such as China.

According to data from the US International Trade Commission (US ITC), which has been processed by the Economic and Commercial Affairs Bureau of the Greek Embassy in Washington, Greece has remained the top supplier for products such as olives and sea bass and bream since 2009 despite the fluctuations recorded in exports.

The US is by far the biggest destination for Greek olive exports – especially the Kalamata variety – with their market share climbing in some product categories to 73.2 percent last year. Olive exports to the US exceeded $100 million last year, with the main rivals in this market being Turkey, Italy and Spain.

Greece also held the lead in the US market for sea bream (58 percent) and bass (54.2 percent) last year. However the penetration of Turkish products in recent years has drawn the attention of the Association of Hellenic Fish Farmers (SETH).

Even more impressive was Greece’s 2013 dominance of the US bean market – prepared or preserved – leaving producer countries such as Mexico and Italy in the dust.

In the category of cheese from sheep or cow milk, which includes feta, Greece was the third-biggest supplier to the US last year behind Spain and France, but Greek exports appear on the wane. As the bureau in Washington notes, feta may constitute a particularly recognizable product, but its “Greekness” is absent from the conscience of the average US consumer.

Greece is also the No 1 supplier to the US for pumice, with a 53.8 percent market share, while it holds a commanding 26.4 percent share in steel or iron pipes for carrying oil and natural gas. These exports’ value amounted to $55.7 million. Greek razors were second to Mexico’s in US penetration, with their value adding up to 106 million euros.

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