Greek-product centers in four big cities abroad

The government is going ahead with plans to create four centers abroad for the promotion of Greek products and investments, in a joint initiative involving the Economy and Foreign ministries and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (OPE). The centers will operate in New York, Moscow, London and Hong Kong through public-private partnerships. At the official opening of the National Exports Council conference yesterday, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said the creation of the centers will start in the second half of the year. Other initiatives set out for the second half of the year are the strategy to promote the sale of construction materials and services in selected target markets (which Alogoskoufis will officially announce today at noon at the Athinais center in Athens), two business missions to Russia and Brazil, and a special program to promote Greek services and products in China, in the context of the two countries’ Olympic and cultural cooperation. A -10 million advertising campaign is planned abroad to promote Greek products, along with a domestic drive to motivate local firms to take part in OPE’s outward-looking activity. Alogoskoufis stressed that the measures taken to date had helped exports grow, increasing by 8 percent in 2005 year-on-year, by 8.8 percent in 2006 and by 10 percent in the first four months of 2007. The resolving of export-related problems had also helped, he added. These include the return of value-added tax, the completion of the electronic register of exporters, the creation of a database to facilitate market access and the upgrading of services offered by OPE. Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said the rise in GDP revenue from exports totaled 8.8 percent in 2006, up from 7.1 percent in 2004, and this year’s target is 9.8 percent.

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