Greece stands fourth worldwide in the export of marble blocks and slabs, shipping 76% of its production to 120 countries, the president of the Macedonia-Thrace Association of Marble Businesses, Julie Chaida, said this week.
Chaida, who is also the vice president of Iktinos Group, revealed the data in the online forum “Exports Turn Crisis into Opportunity,” held by the Panhellenic Exporters Association and the New York-based Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.
This translates into 1.27 billion euros in global demand for Greek marble, Chaida said.
The sector employs 6,500 workers who are directly involved in the primary sector and some 18,000 workers in the secondary sector, she added.
During Greece’s recent financial crisis, the sector was challenged to redefine its role, becoming more extroverted and seeking a fresh strategy.
Addressing the global market meant matching foreign markets’ demand, she noted.
Sixty percent of all exportable raw Greek marble is absorbed by China, a country known for being the largest importer of unprocessed marble in the world.
As far as the American marble market is concerned, the US is Greece’s top buyer of processed marble, “a strategic industry partner” accounting for 15% of Greece’s processed marble.
Greece is the US’s sixth largest supplier of processed marble, following Italy, China and Turkey, among others.