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Newsletter February 2011


Invest in Greece Appoints New Executive Chairman
Invest in Greece Agency has announced the appointment of Mr. Aristomenis (Aris) M. Syngros as its new Chairman. Mr. Syngros assumed his duties on January 20, 2011 and, as Executive Chairman, will oversee the Agency. Previously, Mr. Syngros, an executive with extensive public and private sector experience, was General Manager of Transparency International Hellas.

Canadian Mission to Greece
The importance of progress in the implementation of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was underlined by visiting Canadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan during a meeting with Regional Growth and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis in Athens on December 9, 2010. Their talks focused on the cooperation potential in the sectors of investment and trade.

Minister Chryssohoidis briefed the Canadian delegation on the initiatives undertaken in Greece for the creation of a business-friendly environment and highlighting the investment opportunities Greece offers. He also referred to the new strategy aimed at boosting extroversion outlined the previous day aimed at promoting the Greek products and businesses in international markets.  The Canadian government minister stated that he is impressed with the steps made by the Greek government as regards the fiscal adjustment and the reinforcement of competitiveness.

December 10, 2010

Greece, Azeri Maritime Accord
An agreement on maritime transport between Greece and Azerbaijan was signed in November, 2010 at the Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Ministry between delegations of the two countries. The agreement concerns the promotion of cooperation between the two countries in the maritime sector, the increase in the participation of ships of the participant sides in bilateral and international marine trade, the provision of mutual facilities for both ships and seamen and cooperation between the two countries to eliminate obstacles appearing in international shipping.

November 8, 2010

Double Taxation Agreement—Greece, Switzerland
In November, Greece and Switzerland signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation, according to an announcement issued by the Swiss government.

The agreement was signed in Berne by the Head of Switzerland's Federal Department of Finance Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Greece's Ambassador to Switzerland Ioannis Mourikis.

The agreement provides for the exchange of information along the lines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the parameters established by the Swiss Federal Council (cabinet).

The agreement with Greece further clarifies cooperation between the two countries on a series of issues concerning taxation of capital and income, both for legal entities and individuals. It also makes specific the way in which the two exchange information necessary for enforcing the rules of the agreement and significantly facilitates enforcement of domestic legislation in the two countries regarding taxes covered under the agreement.

It specifies a procedure for mutual settlement in the case that the authorities of the two countries are unable to reach agreement on the method of resolving a tax case and it is referred to arbitration.

November 7, 2010

Greece and Turkey to Boost SME Cooperation
Greece and Turkey signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the next three years. The memorandum was signed between EOMMEX and KOSGE, Greece's and Turkey's organisations for SMEs, respectively, in the presence of Greek foreign affairs Deputy Minister Spyros Kouvelis and Turkey's external commerce Deputy Minister Ahmet Yakici.

November 2, 2010

Moroccan-Greece Cooperation
Moroccan Foreign Trade Minister Abdellatif Mazouz signed four cooperation agreements between Morocco and Greece with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis in Athens in October. They included a bilateral agreement on customs issues, an exchange of documents for avoidance of double taxation and preventing tax evasion, a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in industry and an MoU between the Greek Standards Organisation and its Moroccan counterpart.

"We believe in Greece's ability for growth, we believe in its businesspeople and its investors in spite of the economic crisis," Minister Mazouz said in statements.

The two agreements were the result of the 7th Mixed Ministerial Committee co-chaired by Ministers Mazouz and Kouvelis in Athens, during which the two sides identified many potential areas of cooperation in renewable energy sources, high-quality farm products, Mediterranean diet, fish farming and tourism, especially the Mediterranean cruise market.

Mr. Mazouz announced the launch of a new business council at the start of 2011 with the participation of Greek and Moroccan businesspeople and promised that the two governments "will constantly strengthen the legal framework."

Earlier, Mr. Mazouz held a meeting with Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili and discussed ways to further develop cooperation on energy, with emphasis on renewable energy sources and energy conservation. The two sides are now working on a draft MoU that will define the framework of cooperation on these issues.

As members of the Union of the Mediterranean, the two countries agreed on the need to create a unified and interconnected energy market in the general region of the European Union and all Mediterranean countries. In this framework they are promoting a 'Solar Plan Initiative.' They also planned their cooperation at the upcoming Greek-Moroccan forum to be held at the start of 2011 with a focus on the energy sector.

The two Ministers both expressed the opinion that the negative repercussions of climate change can be dealt with through the use of RES and green development in general, adding that this is a strategic energy policy priority for both countries.

October 19, 2010

Draft Framework Law on Waste Management
Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili unveiled a draft framework law on waste management in Greece, which she said was designed to achieve the maximum level of protection of human health and incorporate EU directives.

Among other items the new legislation sets new targets for recycling by the year 2020, calling for a 50 percent recycling rate for domestic and related refuse and 70 percent for refuse from construction and demolition. Greece also undertakes the obligation to develop a national programme to prevent waste production by 2013.

The bill hopes to promote prevention of the generation of waste as the first choice in waste management strategy, followed by reuse, recycling and other forms of reclaiming wastes (such as burning for energy).

The legislation is drawn up along the principle of "the polluter pays" by making the original generator of the waste responsible for the cost of management.

October 19, 2010

Greece-China Tourism Protocol
Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos signed a Cooperation Protocol with the Vice President of China's National Tourism Authority and Head of the Chinese delegation Jiang Du, regarding mutual action in a series of fields in the tourist sector and know-how exchanges in the sector of tourist training and preparation. The two sides agreed to encourage the start of direct air linkage between the two countries and to strengthen on both sides cooperation between businesspeople, cultural agencies and journalistic missions.

October 19, 2010