Exporters to earn cash bonus points

A draft bill being finalized by the Economy Ministry will award state subsidies to companies and introduce benefits to recipients based on how focused they are on doing business abroad, according to the Panhellenic Exporters Association (PEA). A public discussion on the bill, known as the Development Law, wound up yesterday and the draft is expected to be approved by the Cabinet in the coming weeks. The legislation is expected to come into effect on January 1 next year. For 2011-13, it aims to provide between 4.3 and 5.7 billion euros in financial support to businesses struggling under the weight of a slump in consumption and tight liquidity conditions. After submitting several proposals on ways to support Greece’s export industry, PEA said the ministry has agreed to set up an index to measure the export activities of a business, which will then be used to decide on the funding benefits applicable. «It is the first time funding will be tied to points awarded to businesses based on their export strength,» a PEA source told Kathimerini English Edition. «On previous occasions, state benefits had been linked to other issues, such as a business’s innovation, but not to its export focus,» the source added. Other proposals submitted by exporters include introducing incentives to maintain staff levels or create job positions, with the help of tax breaks and lower social security contributions. As the economy heads deeper into recession, Greece’s export sector showed slight growth in the first half of the year. Exports from January to July expanded by an annual pace of 2.2 percent to 7.32 billion euros versus an 18.4 percent drop in the same period a year earlier.