Greece, an investment magnet?

There are many reasons why Greece is attracting new, dynamic investments today, said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in his address to the «Second Athens Biennial Symposium on Equity, Investment, Energy and Shipping,» held yesterday by the Cass Business School, City University, London. «Greece offers considerable opportunities for business initiatives in sectors such as tourism, renewable energy sources and, generally, energy infrastructures. It allows for major corporate initiatives in communication and information technology, property use, agricultural products and food,» said the prime minister. Investing in Greece has many advantages, he said, referring to the stable fiscal environment, the lower taxes and the simpler tax system, and the use of modern credit services and a reliable capital market. The national investment incentives law allows for subsidies of up to 60 percent, and the «Competitiveness» program, part of the EU-subsidized Community Support Framework, for subsidies of up to 55 percent. Karamanlis made a special reference to shipping, which he characterized as the most outward-looking domain of the Greek economy, noting that the government is meeting the strategic objectives it has set and applying a series of measures for the improvement of competitiveness, the strengthening of the Greek registry and the promotion of Greek shipping’s interests. He also mentioned the upgrade of the ports network through an integrated program and the greater development of Piraeus as an international shipping and financial center. To this end, he said, major projects are in the pipeline, such as the International Shipping and Business Center at the former industrial zone in Drapetsona-Keratsini on a plot of 64 hectares with a -1 billion budget, as well as the construction of an international exhibition, conference and business center in Palataki. Referring to the energy sector, Karamanlis stressed that «Greece applies a dynamic and extroverted policy, with respect toward the environment,» adding that this summer the Greek-Turkish pipeline will start transmitting natural gas, while construction of the underwater Greek-Italian gas pipeline and Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will begin. Tourism policy has a far-reaching future for the government, the prime minister said, with the state offering subsidies and increased incentives for all forms of tourism, while a special zoning plan is being prepared for tourism investments. He added that the biggest tourism investments ever are now under way, while interest by investors keeps growing and prospects for arrivals are exceptionally high. City University Vice Chancellor David Rhind announced that the International Center for Shipping, Trade and Finance will be named after its head, Greek Professor Costas Grammenos, in recognition of his contribution. Grammenos founded the center in 1983 to develop postgraduate studies in shipping, trade and finance, the first such degree in the sector.

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