Monday, 18 December 2023

"Discover Uruguay": Enterprise Greece, SEV, ACCI and SEVE event on business opportunities in Uruguay


"Discover Uruguay": Enterprise Greece, SEV, ACCI and SEVE event on business opportunities in Uruguay

Athens, 18 December 2023 | The event "Discover Uruguay" was held by Enterprise Greece, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and Industries, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Exporters' Association (SEVE), with the support of Eurobank, on Tuesday, December 12, at the offices of SEV. The event aimed to strengthen economic relations with Uruguay, as well as to inform Greek exporting companies about their potential to operate in this country.

Uruguay has one of the highest levels of GDP per capita in South America and a growing middle class, accounting for more than 60% of its population. The country has had strong political and social stability for years, underpinned by an established democracy and strong legal certainty, which makes it attractive to investors. Opportunities for Greek exporters arise in sectors such as agri-food, energy, ICT, and pharmaceuticals as well as financial services.

In her speech, Mrs. Vicky Makrigianni, Director of International Relations and Regional Development at SEV, stated that "Uruguay is a regional hub, strategically located, for access to the rest of the region. As a member of Mercosur and having free trade agreements with other Latin American countries, Uruguay provides access to a market of over 400 million people and represents a flow of foreign trade, almost 74% of Latin America's total. Although bilateral trade is at low levels, the scope for improving our trade and economic relations is particularly large in further sectors and needs to be explored by Greek exporters."

Mrs. Betty Alexandropoulou, Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Greece pointed out that Uruguay can be an entry point for Greek exporters into Latin American markets while inviting potential Uruguayan investors to see the exciting opportunities offered by Greece. In conclusion, she expressed her certainty that the future of collective prosperity depends on the bilateral relations cultivated today.

Mr. Fanis Matsopoulos, Member of the Board of Directors of ACCI, stated that "Uruguay, the rapidly growing economy of South America, plays an important role in the Mercosur union of states. Our country, having developed many branches of private and public education that shape the development culture and contribute to the reduction of inequalities, can contribute to the development of Uruguay and the wider region, especially shortly. Of particular importance is the role of this country as an exporter of food, especially last year with the rapid global increase in its price. The cooperation of the two countries has the potential to promote, by leaps and bounds, mutual interests, benefiting both friendly peoples."

During his speech, Mr. PanagioChasapis, Executive Vice-President of SEVE, referred to the prospects for the development of bilateral trade with Uruguay. As he characteristically stressed, the record performance recorded by Greek exports to Uruguay in 2022 at 8.7 million. This is very low compared to its global imports of EUR 12.4 billion. euro. Mr. Butcher then referred to the sectors in which there is commercial activity between Greece and Uruguay and He concluded by making special reference to the common characteristics of the two peoples, stressing that these can be the basis for strengthening cooperation.

Mrs. Nafsika-Nancy Vraila, Ambassador of Greece to Uruguay, and Mr. José Luis POMBO, Ambassador of Uruguay to Greece, had the floor. Ms. Vraila, in a statement, said: "I am very pleased that I was able to help Greek entrepreneurs of all sectors gain a better picture of this distant country for which I am convinced that there will be interest. It is no coincidence that most European countries show interest in their business presence here, both in terms of investments and in terms of promoting their products and know-how. The Embassy will be by their side as much as possible to help them."

The Ambassador of Uruguay, José Luis Pombo, said that his country is the best investment destination in Latin America. Among others, he leads in the areas of Democracy, Rule of Law, Civil Liberties, Social Mobility, and Digital Governance. Investment houses Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poor's have validated the country's investment grade, while the U.S. State Department has recognized Uruguay as a country with tax transparency. Finally, he referred to the experience of the Greeks who made successful investments in Uruguay: Nikolas Konialidis, Captain Panagiotis Tsakos, Angeliki Frangou, and Athanasios Laskaridis.

The event, with emphasis on bilateral trade relations between Greece and Uruguay and the business opportunities presented by the Uruguayan market, was attended by Ms. Barbara Kontaxi, B3 Directorate of Bilateral Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Eleni Albadi from Eurobank, Ms. Fabiana Valiño, Global Services Specialist - Investment Promotion & Aftercare, Uruguay XXI, Investment, Export, and Country Brand Promotion Agency, Mr. Guillermo Jacob, Partner and CEO of The Christophersen Group in Uruguay and Mr. Dimitris Linas, Director, Kosmos Consulting Services.