ECONOMY

Greek exports rebound

Greek exports seem to have ended a long declining trend in 2005 and exporters are upbeat that the upward trend will continue this year. Panhellenic Exporters’ Association (PSE) President Christina Sakellaridi said exports rose by an estimated 13.6 percent annually to 14 billion euros, including liquid fuels, which enjoyed a considerable rise. Agricultural products rebounded and chemical products rose by 26 percent last year. Sakellaridi stated that problematic sectors, such as textiles, could also rebound with the right policies. Greek products recorded a rise in all markets, except for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with Italy approaching the leading market, Germany. France is rebounding, while Spain is becoming another important market with exports reaching half a billion euros. PSE stressed the significance of the emergence of three new exporting markets for Greece: the United Arab Emirates with more than 200 million euros, and Syria and Singapore with 150 million euros each. Turkey and the US are expected to show imports from Greece reaching about 700 million euros each. Giorgos Cardassilaris, chairman of the executive committee of PSE, said the prospects of exports will depend on Greek companies’ ability to supply the large retail groups developing in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. «It is these chains that shape the market. Yet if we can expand into them, someone has to pay for our ticket,» he said, calling for the creation of a company-funding body and for activity coordination. There are very few companies that have become official suppliers to these chains, he noted. Sakellaridi asked for emphasis on attracting investments to Greece, but with an export orientation. She said Greece must concentrate on branding and the standardization of production for export, as well as on new initiatives for advertising as well as making Greek products part of big multinational retail groups.