17022019Headline:

Greek investment opportunities in Balkans outlined by commercial attaches

The commercial attaches of Greek embassies in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, FYROM, Romania and Servia highlighted the importance of the Balkan market for Greek businesses, in an event in Thessaloniki on Monday ahead of a presentation in Athens.

The Greek officials will also be presenting the profiles and investment opportunities for the Balkans at the Aegli building in Zappio Hall at 14:30 on Tuesday. The events in both cities are organised by Enterprise Greece, an agency of the Greek Economy and Development Ministry. In Thessaloniki, Enterprise Greece was joined by the Thessaloniki Trade and Industry Chamber, supported by the Foreign Ministry.

At the Thessaloniki event, each attache reviewed trade relations with Greece and presented sectors of interest for Greek investors. Some of the data they presented are as follows, per country:

ALBANIA (Sarantis Moschovis, Head of Economic and Commercial Affairs, or ECA, Tirana):

– Greece has been the largest foreign investor in Albania the last 15-20 years

– Large companies, including banks, started a gradual divestiture as of 2018, but a rise has been registered in smaller investments in agriculture, shipping and tourism

– Foodstuffs in Albania are not subject to customs tariffs, except for feta, while Greek wine has gained a foothold in the market

– Albanian GDP is distributed mostly among services (39.8%), the primary sector (22.9%), commerce (12.7%), industry (9%) and construction (10%).

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA (Leonidas Papakonstantinides, Head of ECA, Sarajevo)

– Sectors of interest to Greek businesses include tourism, energy, IT and communications

– Greek exports totalled 80 million euros in 2017; they included aluminium and its products, construction material, fruit and vegetables, and plastics

– The Bosnian mark has a stable exchange rate with the euro (1 euro = 2 marks)

– Greek investors should also look beyond Sarajevo (the capital) to Banja Luca and Mostar

BULGARIA (Dimitrios Maos, Secretary for ECA, Sofia)

– Greek investments in Bulgaria total 2.28 billion euros, and Greek banks represent slightly over 10% of the country’s total banking assets

– Setting up a company costs 2 levas (around 1 euro), and the process is completed within a month; the country has a flat tax of 10%, a GDP growh rate of 3.6-3.9% the last three years, and it utilises EU funds in programmes for attracting foreign investors

– The market shows no signs of saturation, but keeps expanding, especially in areas like cutting-edge technology

– Bulgaria is fifth highest buyer of Greek products and the 11th in terms of imports to Greece; the top three GDP sectors include services, industry and agriculture

FYROM, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Pagona Larda, Head of ECA, Skopje)

– The country is the third largest commercial partner of Greece, with Greek investments totalling nearly 474 million euros

– Greece is the third largest supplier of FYROM and fifth in terms of exports to it

– Greek businesses will benefit greatly from the completion of infrastructure projects

– 1.072 million citizens of FYROM chose Greece as their holiday destination in 2017

ROMANIA (Aristotelis Xenakis, Minister Counselor for ECA, Bucharest)

– The stock of Greek investments in Romania totals 1.36 billion euros, with around 500 businesses of Greek interests active in the country

– Romania offers great prospects for increased Greek exports, especially for fresh fruit and vegetables

– 1.25 million Romanians visited Greece in the first 9 months of 2018, with favourite destinations including the Chalkidiki peninsula, Katerini and the islands of Thassos and Lefkas

SERBIA (Haralambos Kounalakis, Minister Counselor for ECA, Belgrade)

– The total of Greek investments in Serbia total 1.5 billion euros, and there are 150 active Greek businesses in the country

– The volume of bilateral trade reached half a billion euros, a record level, in 2018

– The Serbian economy is developing at a fast clip (4.4% in 2018)

– Stock of Greek investments in Serbia totalled 3 billion euros in 2018 (corresponding to 6.2% of the GDP)

– Sectors of interest to Greek investors include energy, agriculture (especially food and beverages) and construction.