Greece’s new exports map

2017 was another record year for Greece’s exports sector and the first months of 2018 continue in this upward trend. Despite the adverse circumstances of the first half of 2017, Greek exporters succeeded in standing out with their performance, thus effectively supporting the national economy and the country’s efforts to return to viable growth rates.

In order to compensate for sales lost outside Greek borders due to the economic crisis, Greek exporters have started focusing on expanding to non-traditional foreign markets. As a result, exports towards markets outside the European Union constantly gain momentum against the conventional EU markets. It is characteristic that during the recession many new exporting companies were established.

According to data provided by the Panhellenic Exporters Association (ΠΣΕ) and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ΕΛΣΤΑΤ), the total value of exports excluding oil products, recorded an increase of 7,1% or 1.32 billion euros within 2017, reaching 19.98 billion euros from 18.65 billion euros. The previous record excluding oil products was in 2016, when the total value of exports was estimated at 18.36 billion euros.

The dynamic development that the exports sector recorded in 2017 will further accelerate in 2018, according to the first data on this year’s economic activity. Their total value excluding oil products increased by 19.3% or 275.5 million euros in January 2018, reaching 1.70 billion euros from 1.43 billion euros.

The signs for Greek exports this year are more than positive, according to relevant data so far. Of course, the geopolitical situation in the wider area will play a key role in influencing developments. Besides, it should be noted that Turkey constitutes the third (from 4th in 2016) most important destination for Greek exports, after Italy and Germany.

At the same time, Brexit’s impending repercussions are a source of major concern for exporters, who turn to alternative approaches.

In addition, parameters such as taxation, capital controls and the need for restoration of funding, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which constitute the backbone of Greek economy, continue to function as deterrents for exporting activities.

During the 6th Greek Exports Forum, renowned specialists will provide in-depth analysis and insight on key matters which all entrepreneurs involved in the exports sector should be aware of, such as the government’s initiatives on the improvement of extroversion, the funding of exporters by banks and international financial institutions and the tools that businesses should utilize in order to access new markets, such as certification, e-commerce, marketing, insurance and consultation services.

This year’s forum will put special emphasis on Greek exporters’ personal experiences as well as their demands and expectations, while entrepreneurs who have increased their sales beyond Greek borders will share their success stories.

The role of exports in the National Development Strategy

During the forum’s introductory session, a State official will present the government’s initiatives and actions in relation to the implementation of the strategic development plan for the Greek economy, which aims to help Greece exit the crisis by adapting its production model.

In addition, a representative from the main opposition party will present the latter’s proposals on an economic policy which will further boost exports.

Sessions

Indicative list of discussion topics

  • The role of economic diplomacy and in particular of Offices of Economic and Commercial Affairs in the development of the exports sector and the opening to new markets
  • The utilization of promotion programs such as “Venturing Abroad” («ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΟΥΜΕ ΕΞΩ») by the NSRF
  • Presentation of Greek businesses through exhibitions and missions abroad
  • Funding programs for exporting companies
  • The need to lift bureaucratic barriers to enhance dispatch of products to new markets
1. The role of exports in Greece’s new growth model

Politicians and leading personalities of the Greek economy will participate in the first panel of the 6th Greek Exports Forum and present policies on reinforcing economic extroversion, which constitutes a major national issue for Greece. More in particular, top government officials and members of the opposition will offer their opinions on practices that will lead to further growth of the exports sector, a basic pillar of Greece’s economic development.

Taxation, funding and bureaucracy are among the issues which the panel will discuss, while renowned entrepreneurs and foreign ambassadors stationed in Greece will contribute their specialized knowledge.

Furthermore, officers from all competent ministries, companies’ and financial institutions’ executives as well as representatives of government agencies and research institutions will present their actions on boosting and expanding exporting activities.

2. Funding, export credit insurance and factoring programs

The second panel of the 6th Greek Exports Forum will focus on funding tools and export credit insurance options offered by banks and insurance companies.

The lack of liquidity is one of the most crucial problems that Greek entrepreneurs are currently facing. In this panel, bank executives will present funding solutions tailored to the exporters’ needs, the terms and conditions regarding access to them as well as options provided by factoring.

As exporters constantly face multiple and severe risks, export credit insurance constitute a necessity for those who wish to expand their business activities abroad.

Indicative list of discussion topics

  • New banking products for the exports sector
  • SMEs’ access to funding and insurance programs
  • Exports insurance coverage sectors
  • Factoring services for exports companies
3. Opportunities in new markets – Officers of Foreign Embassies and Economic and Commercial Affairs Offices present growth opportunities in their countries

The expansion to non-traditional markets outside the borders of the European Union is a focal point of exporters’ interest. The economic crisis combined with the Russian embargo on exports of basic Greek products has compelled many Greek companies to seek new destinations, especially in Asian, Arabic, African and across the Atlantic markets.

In the first half of this session, the Ambassadors of Mexico and Sudan and the Commercial Attaché of Kazakhstan will discuss new prospects in their countries, the opportunities for growth of exporting activities and the different challenges that each market presents.

Furthermore, executives from Diplomatic and Commercial Affairs Offices will present various investment and business opportunities offered by new markets.

More specifically, the markets of Canada, Brazil, South Africa, China and Australia will be showcased as examples of overseas markets.

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and discussion with the participants.

4. Exporting businesses success stories

In the fourth session of the 6th Greek Exports Forum, entrepreneurs whose companies stand out for their exporting activities will share their experience with the participants.

In particular, they will explain the risks and difficulties involved in exporting activities and ways to overcome them, offering invaluable advice to aspiring exporters and entrepreneurs who wish to expand their activities to new markets.

This session will also offer the public the possibility to ask questions which will help them make the most of the information shared by successful businessmen and businesswomen.

Indicative list of discussion topics

  • Marketing: modern methods for promoting and advertising products in foreign markets; digital marketing and social media
  • E-commerce: effective use of large online platforms and the creation of e-shops
  • Product certification: necessary requirement for access to international markets
5. Tools for International Market Penetration (E-commerce, Certification, Marketing, HR Services, Transportation, Logistics)

In its fifth session, the Forum will focus on the tools that entrepreneurs should utilize in order to make their products more competitive in foreign markets.

Technological development and especially the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies have transformed the way that companies interact with their clients, making e-commerce an indispensable and constantly growing part of business activities.

This session focuses on the various tools that a business may utilize in order to achieve optimal international market penetration, such as product certification, e-marketing, e-commerce and specialized exports consulting services.

Undoubtedly, e-marketing and especially the social media are essential means for building a company’s brand name and constitute a popular and constantly evolving method for conquering new markets.

Furthermore, product certification fulfilling specific standards required in the markets targeted by a company, may make the difference which will ultimately lead to success.

Finally, recruiting executives and consultants with specialized knowledge and experience in foreign markets where a company wishes to expand, may prove a decisive factor for growth of exportation activities without wasting valuable resources.

In this panel, company executives from all the above sectors will explain all relevant details and answer questions posed by the conference participants.

Parallel Sessions

PARALLEL SESSION 1

B2B Consultation Meetings between Greek Exporters and Bilateral Chambers Executives

In parallel with the plenary sessions of the Conference, the organizers will offer to the participants/ potential exporters the opportunity to have personal consultation meetings (B2B meetings) with Bilateral Chambers executives. During these meetings, the entrepreneurs will be able to explore their networking prospects in the markets of their choice and get detailed information on the challenges and opportunities related to bilateral commercial relations. The meetings will be organized by Ethos Media on a first come first served basis.

PARALLEL SESSION 2

B2B meetings between Greek exporters and representatives of the Forum’s major sponsors

The organizers of the 6th Greek Exports Forum offer to participants-prospective exporters the possibility to have B2B meetings with executives who work for the Forum’s leading sponsor companies. In these meetings, which will take place in parallel with the main event, entrepreneurs will be able to discuss various key issues, seek collaboration opportunities and benefit from exporting companies’ executives invaluable experience. The meetings will be scheduled by Ethos Media on a first-come-first-served basis.