The International Thessaloniki Expo can and must be key in promoting Greek enterprise and connecting it with international investors. It is where people and ideas meet, important trade deals are made and where the world has the opportunity to witness a country that innovates and produces value-added products.
We need to unleash the potential of Greek production and free it of the bonds that keep it anchored in the past. In order to enable Greek enterprise, lower taxes and transparency are required. Moreover, the state mechanism must evolve. Greece needs a modern and flexible public sector, unburdened from bureaucracy, that no longer sets obstacles but drives investment.
Our nation has a host of competitive advantages: A highly educated and skilled workforce, its geographical location, competitive labor costs, a natural environment unlike no other and, of course, thousands of years of history and countless unique cultural monuments.
But above all, Greece’s key advantage lies in the sectors with high comparative advantage such as agro-food, tourism and renewable energy sources. Sectors with such powerful local characteristics that they will not be affected by technological advancements.
This year’s Expo is honouring China. A country with which we share a long tradition of mutual respect, true friendship and key trade relationships. Broadening and deepening at multiple levels these relationships with China must be a top priority in our national effort to revamp the Greek economy.
China’s colossal market is the ideal destination for quality Greek products. We need concerted efforts by the central and local governments in order to promote and bolster Greek exports to China.
At the same time, attracting capital via Chinese investment, will create thousands of new jobs and will provide an essential growth boost to the Greek economy, especially in country’s periphery.
And, of course, the deep respect that the Chinese people have for Greek civilisation and culture makes our country a very attractive vacation destination. Towards this end, it is important to take targeted initiatives at the national and local level in order to connect tourism and culture.