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Presentation of Economic Diplomacy results for 2010 and programming for 2011 (excerpts)

Monday, 31 January 2011

The following are excerpts from Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis’s presentation of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Diplomacy results for 2010 and programming for 2011:

· “I think that 2010 can be called a turning point in externalization: despite the financial difficulties, the exports sector exhibited significant growth. In terms of balance of trade, we managed to have an increase in exports of some 7.5% during a critical year for the national economy. I think this is something we should be happy about and that can enable us to believe in the effort.”

· “The export trade and the economic diplomacy sector in general is an extremely competitive market. Greece is not the only country trying. Other countries are trying as well. Precisely because Greece is currently in a difficult economic position – though one that is improving – I think everyone is necessary and there is no room for negligence.”

· “The main points of the strategy that I would like to underscore are, first, that we need a targeted effort. Second, it is important that we optimize utilization of personnel at our Commercial Affairs Offices and missions abroad, as well as personnel in other structures of the state mechanism, and, naturally, the work of all the export agencies. We also need to identify and confront with seriousness and sincerity the obstacles and negative incentives that exist in export commerce in Greece. Fourth, we need to utilize the provision of information and education. It is also important for an ongoing assessment to be carried out – possibly every four months – and, finally, coordination of state services is important; we have started doing this, but there are still steps to be taken.”

· “The ten most important sectors are food; energy (renewable energy sources and green technology); construction materials; construction; tourism; health (pharmaceutical products and medical supplies); engineering and industrial equipment; information and communications technologies; beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic); and cosmetics. These are the ten ‘champions’ of Greek exports, I would say, and we have to build on these, though that doesn’t mean that some other sector won’t prove just as dynamic.”

· “We divided the world into seven regions in which there is interest. For each of these, evaluation has been carried out as to what the most dynamic sectors are in each region.”