Thursday, 25 February 2021

Digital Event for Trade & Development


Digital Event for Trade & Development

Athens, 25 February 2021 I The added value and contribution of trade and exports in order to decrease regional disparity across E.U. regions was the main focus of the digital event of Thursday, 25 February:  "Empowering Resilience, Growth and Development across E.U. regions".

The event was co-organised by Enterprise Greece, the official State agency to promote exports from Greece and attract foreign investment, and its French counterpart Trade Promotion Organisation (TPO), Business France, with the support of the European Trade Promotion Organizations’ Association (ETPOA-AISBL).

Despite the cohesion policy efforts made by the European Union to achieve convergence across European regions, development disparities continue to thrive. The aim of the event was to highlight the contribution of export trade to regional development and to serve as a platform for exchange of views, best practice and know-how. The event built on the “Export Promotion Plus” project which was funded by the European Union, and co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany, and implemented by GIZ, in cooperation with the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) of the  European Commission.

During the event, special reference was made to some common challenges which European regions are faced with, but also to the national and regional policies implemented to soothe the negative impact of growth disparities, which has been observed and documented in recent years by international organizations. However, what was mainly highlighted how national TPOs, such as Enterprise Greece and Business France, can contribute effectively towards this direction. Besides the co-organisers, the national TPOs of Portugal (AICEP), Spain (ICEX) and Italy (ITA), had the opportunity, during the event, to share their own experience and successful practices.

Ms Betty Alexandropoulou, Executive Director of Enterprise Greece and Member of the Board, after thanking all participants having contributed to the success of the event, during which best practices were presented to support regional development through export trade, referred to the important actions of Enterprise Greece as well as actions at national level: “The reform taking place in the field of extroversion is significant where economic diplomacy key players are all being gathered under one umbrella of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The last year, Enterprise Greece has entered a new era by reforming its services in a more client-oriented mode, rapidly digitizing them and conducting strategic alliances with global players in order to expand and strengthen the Greek export base. The following year, the priority focus is on the regions, highlighting their export dynamics in an innovative way. The exchange of know-how with other Trade Promotion Organizations of the European family and the support of DG REFORM are extremely useful tools for the planning and implementation of targeted and sustainable initiatives.”.

Mr Henri Baissas, COO Team France Export of Business France pointed out how the proximity strategy implemented in 2018 has shifted the paradigm for the French SMEs export system/capacity. Indeed, the Team France Export network of export advisers, through the alliance with the chambers of commerce and the development bank BPIFrance, has proven to be efficient by targeting their specific needs and delivering relevant responses. He also emphasized on the importance of such event providing a platform for all the European stakeholders to share their best practices based on their unique experiences, to build a common knowledge base that will help the growth of all the regions.

Mr Mario Nava, Director-General of DG REFORM, underlined that “for ensuring a green, digital and resilient recovery investing at regional level will be crucial. The quality of national, regional and local administrations and governance will be a key driver for implementing reforms and investments.” He also stressed that “in our experience of more than 1,000 technical support projects across the European Union, the ownership of a reform, with active engagement of the relevant stakeholders, is essential for its ultimate success”. Mr Nava highlighted examples of DG REFORM support on trade and investment promotion. These included the export promotion projects in Greece which helped to build tools for exporting companies, such as the Help Desk at Enterprise Greece.