Divani Caravel


INTRODUCTION: Greece’s new extrovert growth model

2016 brought another record for the Greek exports sector: beyond predictions and despite international instability and the country’s difficult economic circumstances, exports found the path to winning over new markets.

According to the Bank of Greece official report, in 2016 the exports’ value (not including fuel and shipping) increased for the third consecutive year, from 17.8 billion euro in 2015, to 18.1 billion – an all-time record. And it is worth noting that, during the memorandum period, the exports sector took a step back only in 2013, when profits fell to 16.9 billion from 17.2 in 2012. The 2016 increase might be small, however it is of great importance, as profits from oil and shipping are not included, meaning that it corresponds to a different part of the market and reflects growing productivity in various economic sectors.

The dynamic development of exports will further accelerate in 2017, according to the first reports on this year’s activity. Their value, as shown by data collected by the Bank of Greece, not including oil and shipping, has almost doubled in comparison to last year’s corresponding period.

As the second review of the Greek programme is underway and an all-inclusive agreement with the creditors is under negotiation, the Greek economy needs to not only preserve but reinforce this dynamic growth of the exports sector, basing it on strong and sound foundations and aiming at the promotion of sustainable development.

At the same time, Brexit is expected to have severe repercussions on Greek exportation activities. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development, Greek exports to the United Kingdom amount to approximately 1.07 billion euro, and Brexit could affect 0.3% up to 1% of the country’s GNP. Within the framework of the “2021 National Development Strategy”, the Greek government is preparing a plan with the goal to provide answers and solutions on all issues and risks related to the reinforcement of exports and the restructuring of the economic growth model.

During the 5th 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 through the “2021 National Development Strategy” plan, 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 and marketing. Furthermore, the Conference will present the exporting sector’s demands and expectations as well as various success stories of businesses which ventured beyond the Greek borders.

The exporting sector’s place and significance within the “2021 National Development Strategy”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave the green light for the elaboration and implementation of a strategic growth plan for the Greek economy, with the sole aim to accelerate the country’s exit from recession through adjustment of its production model.

During the Conference’s introductory session, the Vice-President of the Government will present the latter’s initiatives and actions in relation to the country’s transition to a new model of Sustainable and Fair Growth, which Greece needs in order to be competitive in Europe and the international market.

In addition, a representative from the party of New Democracy will present the opposition’s proposals on the promotion of business activities and the planning of an economic policy which will boost exports as well as the Greek economy in general.

SECTION 1: New National Development Strategy – the role of extroversion and exports boosting policies

The necessity of the country’s fast exit from the crisis is undisputed. The exports sector is a dynamic part of the Greek economy which constitutes the only light in the dark ages of memorandums and recession. Therefore, designing policies for the improvement of extroversion is a matter of national importance.

Politicians and leading personalities of the Greek economy will participate in the first panel of the 5th Greek Exports Forum. More in particular, top government officials and members of the opposition will present their opinions and attempt to find common ground, while ministries’ initiatives and the opposition’s proposals and criticism will be thoroughly analyzed.

This political debate will also discuss issues such as ways to eliminate bureaucracy as well as financial, fiscal and administrative incentives.

Furthermore, leading experts of the business and banking sectors will have the opportunity to present their views and challenge the government and opposition. At the same time, foreign ambassadors in Greece will be able to intervene, providing an outsider’s viewpoint which is undoubtedly of great value, since the key to exportation is the opening to foreign markets.

Officials from the competent ministries and executives from various companies, banks, state authorities and research institutions, will present their strategies on the economic expansion outside Greek borders.

The initiatives for the promotion of Greek products to foreign markets, the abolition of administrative obstacles, the infusion of liquidity to businesses and the views of researchers on existing deficiencies and measures for their elimination, are some of the basic issues that entrepreneurs who wish to design an exportation strategy for their products should explore.

Among the issues that will be discussed are the following:

  • How economic diplomacy can contribute to unlocking foreign markets
  • Organized presentation of Greek businesses though expositions and missions abroad
  • Greek and European financial institutions’ funding programmes
  • The abolition of bureaucratic obstacles for faster delivery of products to foreign markets
  • The present and future of exports according to research studies

SECTION 2: Funding and insurance: the exporters’ “tools”

The second panel will present available financing solutions as well as insurance options which exporters may utilize.

As the main problem that Greek exporters have to face is the lack of liquidity, bank executives and EBRD officials will present funding solutions available for exporters as well as the terms and conditions to access them.

If funding is the first tool that exporters should have at their disposal, insurance is definitely the second, given that exporting activities entail great risks. In this context, insurance specialists will provide information on export credit insurance options.

Finally, among other funding solutions, factoring will be analyzed in detail.

An indicative list of the issues that will be discussed in this panel is the following:

  • Bank products available to exporters; which exporting activities are funded in particular
  • The role of European financial institutions and how businesses can access them
  • Exports insurance coverage and financial return
  • Factoring services for exporting activities

SECTION 3: Exporting businesses success stories

In the third session of the 5th Greek Exports Forum, Greek companies established in the global market will reveal the secrets of their success.

In particular, they will explain the risks involved in activities outside Greek borders as well as the challenges exporting companies face and ways to address them – issues which always interest aspiring exporters and entrepreneurs who have already ventured abroad.

Within this framework, successful businessmen and businesswomen will share their experience by presenting their achievements and answering questions.

SECTION 4: Means for boosting competitiveness of exported products: E-Commerce, Certification, Marketing, Cyber Security, HR Services

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

Undoubtedly, e-commerce, product certification, marketing and the various possibilities offered by human resources services, can make the difference for a company and bring success in the form of sales and profits. Nowadays, consultation by specialized professionals and cyber security services are also indispensable for businesses that intend to expand to new markets.

As the economy now follows the development of technology, e-commerce and digital platforms are the passport to exporting faster and achieving economies of scale.

Apart from the tried and tested practice of presentation in international expositions, product marketing, brand name building, promotion and advertising on social media are also means to ensure a market share in foreign markets.

Product and production method certification is another way to succeed in exports, as it provides foreign consumers with much-valued safety guarantees.

Furthermore, recruiting executives with specialized knowledge and experience in foreign markets is the key to successful exportation activities. This is the role of human resources companies, which can offer valuable services to Greek businesses.

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

Indicative list of discussion topics:

  • E-commerce: how a company can promote and sell its products on the Internet; the role of electronic platforms
  • Certification: requirements for obtaining product passports to market access
  • Marketing: strategies for product promotion and advertising in foreign markets; social media and international expositions.