ECONOMY

Local advisers to help exports

The government will use local advisers to promote Greek exports in various countries, Giorgos Zanias, general secretary at the Economy and Finance Ministry, announced yesterday. Although, as Zanias announced, Greek exports rose 7 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2002, this is a short reversal of a long-term trend of decline, which has seen the value of Greek exports fall behind even those of Luxembourg. Local advisers will be hired initially in China and Japan. They will be paid with funds earmarked from the Public Investment Program. Greece is highly interested in both markets, especially China, which, besides the obvious advantages due to its size, will be staging the 2008 Olympics. Among the many companies interested in selling their products or services to China are construction firms. Beyond the local advisers, who are expected to facilitate contacts with business partners in these countries, the government is aware that most Greek companies lack the knowhow to survey foreign markets and attempt to infiltrate them with their products. For this reason, the Economy Ministry, the Export Promotion Organization and adviser McKinsey have inaugurated pilot programs in Athens, Thrace and Crete. The programs target export-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises, which will be guided step by step in ways to increase their exports. There will also be programs promoting tourism services and Greek food.