ECONOMY

Greek exports flourishing in crisis

Every cloud has a silver lining. The meltdown of the Greek economy and political turmoil in the Mediterranean region have led to a relative boom in Greek exports. Because of the drop in domestic demand, local firms have turned to foreign markets. Furthermore, the instability in the countries of North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean has served to benefit Greek tourism and exports. The increase in cruise tourism has also improved the standing of Greek suppliers, while highlighting the importance of tying exports to the globalized sectors of tourism and transport.

As a result of all the above, Greece?s exports in the first half of 2011 — excluding oil products — reached 7.8 billion euros, 11.6 percent up from last year. If one takes sales of oil products into account, then the increase rises to 40.4 percent: 10.5 billion euros, up from 7.5 billion last year. According to estimates by the Panhellenic Exporters Association, which takes into consideration increased orders for industrial goods from abroad, Greek exports may hit an all-time high of 20 billion euros. In order to maintain the competitive advantage of Greek firms and products — boosted by international circumstances — local companies as well as the government must introduce more permanent measures.

The Socialist administration has tried to support local businesses with money from the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) program and by updating the institutional structure. Recently, the Development Ministry announced that 746 investment projects had been included in the NSRF?s Business Competitiveness – Extroversion program, while public spending was at 44.8 million euros. The campaign for a more business-friendly Greece revolves around two main principles: first, reducing the number of certificates which are required for exports and, second, hammering out agreements aimed at abolishing double taxation.

According to sources, the government is working on new legislation for exports that will foresee the establishment of a single window system designed to simplify the information flow between the parties involved in trade.