20092019Headline:

Greece has made significant progress in terms of trade facilitation

Greece has made significant progress in trade facilitation terms in recent years, following the preparation of the relevant Greek Trade Facilitation Strategy and Roadmap based on the expertise of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the head of the UNECE Trade Facilitation Department Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) released on Tuesday.

The time required for exports and imports of products has decreased by 25 pct and 44 pct, respectively, between 2012 and 2015, while Greece’s ranking has improved by 22 positions in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and by 52 positions in terms of procedures (from 94th to 42nd).

According to Ceccarelli, who heads a team of about 400 experts working on e-commerce and e-business projects, using mainly Blockchain and Internet of Things applications, improvement in Greece continues: Greece’s overall performance in digital and sustainable trade facilitation (based on the UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation 2017-2019), was around 70 pct in 2019, against 66.6 pct in 2017, while it scored 86.6 pct this year in transparency and 83.3 pct in formalities, 77.78 pct in institutionalisation and cooperation and 70.37 pct in paperless commerce, with the electronic issue of certificates and documents. In the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking on cross-border trade, Greece achieved a score of 93.72 / 100, compared to an average of 94.21 / 100 for the high-income countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

As trade inefficiency in trade facilitation is estimated to cost 1 pct of world GDP (World Bank research), the benefits of the progress achieved in this area are evident. Ceccarelli said that full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is estimated to reduce the cost of trade by 14.3 pct worldwide when the agreement is in effect and pave the way for additional exports of between 750 billion dollars and 1 trillion dollars (according to the World Trade Organisation).

She also pointed out the role that the creation of the new “Silk Road” can play in terms of Greece’s ability to “unlock” new markets. “Greece is not in the middle of the Silk Road, but it is on the EU’s side regarding the Silk Road. So I think it could have an important role there, seeing how the interest of China and all countries along the Silk Road in Europe could be maximised, for example, Russia is particularly interested in European products,” she said.