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Newsletter February 2011


A New National Export Strategy

Greece has launched an ambitious and comprehensive new export promotion strategy that coordinates ministries and state bodies in an effort to overhaul Greece’s approach to global markets and support an outward looking economy.

Key to the effort is the creation of a new, national brand that will (1) support exports, through the Greek Export Promotion Council (HEPO); (2) support investment, through Invest in Greece Agency; and (3) support tourism, through the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).

The Minister of Regional Growth and Competitiveness Michalis Chrysochoidis, presented the National Strategy for Exports at an event: “Greece: Outward Looking.”

In underlining the potential for Greek businesses to expand their export activity, he pointed out that:
• Less than one fifth of Greece’s major exporting companies export more than 50% of their turnover
• Only a small percentage of exports goes to large, mature and emerging markets such as North America, Russia and China
• The share of Greece’s exports of GDP is 8.7%. Although this is an increased rate since in 2009, when it was less than 8%, the figure for Spain is more than 16%, for Portugal more than 20%, for Ireland and the Netherlands more than 50%.

The key points of the national export strategy

1. The creation of a National Brand, a Greek identity, which will certify the quality and authenticity of products. The National Brand will be built on synergy and coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Already action has been taken to create a common logo and a common certification system for high quality products.
The National Brand will be based on 3 pillars:

• Exports (with support of HEPO)
• Investments (with the support of Invest in Greece)
• Tourism (with the support of GNTO)

2. Inter-ministerial coordination. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Economic Diplomacy and the Commercial Attachés; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with GNTO; the Minister of State with responsibility for strategic investments; the Ministry of Rural Development and Food; and the Ministry of Regional Growth and Competitiveness.

3.  A radical restructuring of the National Export Council to become more efficient, more effective, and more flexible. It will be absorbed by the National Council for Development and Competitiveness to create a stable structure that will be able to co-shape national policy and to monitor implementation and results.

4. Creation of a new Outward Orientation Fund, in the first quarter of 2011, under the umbrella of ETEAN (Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development), which will be called Go2Market. It will be capitalised with about 70 million Euro, which will be used to leverage multiple funds from the market.

5. Creation of smart financial products that will meet short-term liquidity needs of businesses, such as the pre-financing of exports and the export VAT refund.

6. ECIO (Export Credit Insurance Organization – OAEP) is being readjusted to provide information, be flexible and be able to cover indirect investments.

7. HEPO will be reorganised along the lines of the Dutch EVD, which is one of the best players of its kind in the world. It will focus on three functions:
• Reports
• Reliable online information and analysis of new markets for critical areas of opportunities per country, with potential match-making, and organisation of regular electronic reports
• Provision of information, expertise and small-scaled financial assistance to small businesses with products seen favourable for export (along the lines of the Dutch Prepare2Start).

8. Creation of a network of information and technology transfer from large and experienced firms with small non-competing companies.

9. The systematic monitoring with statistics of all initiatives, to target policy priorities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"This project is within an integrated policy framework, which we hope will create an entirely new reality for Greek exports," said Minister Chrysochoidis. "Our goal is not to merely achieve improvements, but to finally turn the page. To finally get away from the defensive, market fearing perception that condemns us to modest growth and no future. To change attitude about the ways and the goals of business operation. To create a dynamic, outward oriented movement that will change the beliefs and perceptions not only of entrepreneurs, but of the whole of Greek society. "