Countries outside the European Union are evolving into significant trade partners for Greece, according to data on July international commercial transactions issued by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
While both imports and exports have shown an overall decline, efforts by Greek exporting companies to expand their client base beyond the EU have seen trade ties with non-EU states begin to flourish, something which has been bolstered by imports of often cheaper — and therefore economical — products from third countries.
Preliminary data for July 2012 showed imports — not including oil products — amounted to 2.55 billion euros, down by about 2 percent from 2.61 billion euros in July 2011. This is attributed to the unstable political climate in Greece in the months before July, around the period of the back-to-back general elections. However, while imports from fellow EU countries declined by 7.1 percent, imports from third countries expanded by 10.1 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile exports went down by 1.3 percent in July from the year before, against a forecast 1.1 percent drop, amounting to 1.42 billion euros. It was the first time in 20 months that exports to third countries posted a decline (by 1.1 percent), while exports to EU states fell by 1.5 percent.