Exports change direction

Exports of manufactured products have, in the last decade, gradually changed focus, both in terms of composition and geography, as Greek exporters build on their strength in the telecommunications and high-technology industries and head for riskier and more volatile markets in the Balkans, the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association said yesterday. Exports of manufactured products, which account for slightly half of total exports, increased by 38 percent in the period 1990-2000, with the value of the goods up by 38 percent, the association’s preliminary data showed. This compared with a 40 percent jump in total exports and a 39 percent rise in their value. Reflecting Greek telecoms companies’ expansion into the Balkans, the association said exports of machinery and transportation equipment, including telecommunications equipment, increased threefold and accounted for 22 percent of exports of manufactured goods in the last decade. In contrast, exports of traditional products such as clothing have either remained flat or declined, underlining a competitiveness problem for Greek goods. In terms of markets, slightly more than a fifth of manufactured products went to the Balkans in 2000, marking a fourfold increase in 10 years, the association said. «Exports of manufactured goods have moved to riskier and less stable markets,» it said. Greece’s major trading partners in the EU absorbed just 46 percent of its exports, down from 69 percent at the beginning of the decade. Greek exports, however, significantly lagged behind global exports, the association lamented. While global exports rose 94 percent in 1990-2000, sales of Greek goods abroad went up by just 38 percent.