Although Greek economy still hasn’t fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and its after-effects, there are numerous opportunities for US businesses hoping to enter the Greek market. Read on and find out which four main sectors of the Greek economy could provide your business with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Agriculture contributes about 4% to Greece’s GDP. The country possesses nearly 5 million hectares of agricultural area, with main products being olives, wheat, barley, tobacco, sugar beets, dairy, and potatoes.
Greece is a net agricultural importer, sourcing a lot more food and beverages from overseas than it exports. That said, bilateral agricultural trade between the US and Greece paints a different picture: according to 2016 data, the US exported agri-food products to Greece in a value of $80 million while importing Greek agri-goods for $412 million. US exporters sold mainly tree nuts, distilled spirits, soybeans and soy products, forestry goods and seafood to Greece, while US importers bought Greek processed food, vegetables, seafood products, vegetable oils and cheese.
Currently, the US mostly exports and imports consumer oriented products, though in US exports there’s a slight increase in the amount of intermediate commodities. US products like tree nuts, whiskey (and other spirits), seafood, hardwood lumber and veneer, pulses, as well as dried fruit like cranberries and plums continue to have a great sales potential in Greece. New market opportunities arise for US exporters of planting seeds, beans, hides and skins (e.g. mink), organic foods, exotic and off-season fruits, and soybeans.
Beauty and Personal Care
The majority of beauty products Greeks use come from overseas. Despite the economic situation, the sector didn’t suffer as much as others, and forecasts even see it growing by 2.5% per annum over the next two years.
Big US companies like Avon, Procter & Gamble and Estée Lauder are already present in this sector. Recent trends show that consumers favor purchasing their beauty products online, and go for discounts and good deals instead of well-known brands, which creates an opening for new market entrants.
Products with organic and eco-friendly ingredients, as well as “cosmoceuticals” (cosmetics distributed through pharmacy networks) do increasingly well on the market, along with skin- and hair care products. Due to the large number of tourists during the summer, sun care products are always in demand.
Shipping and Marine Services
Greece’s long coastline and strategic location on the borders of Asia, Europe, and Africa provide excellent opportunities for trade and shipping. Consequently, Greece owns the largest merchant marine fleet on the planet, and shipping contributes a whopping 7% to the country’s GDP.
Shipping and merchant services are amongst the sectors least affected by the overall economic situation in Greece. This provides many opportunities for US small businesses. Whether you’re active in logistics, or you need products shipped, Greek logistics services are an excellent choice for both investors and as carriers of goods.
Shipping and merchant services are amongst the sectors least affected by the overall economic situation in Greece. This provides many opportunities for US small businesses.
US companies are well respected by the Greek shipping industry. Currently, Greek ship owners are looking for high-tech investments and products like anti-piracy solutions, navigation and safety equipment, communication aids, computer and software applications, maritime insurance services, and ship repair. In addition, technologies for LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) carriers are highly sought after.
The US pavilion at the annual international trade show Posidonia held in Athens provides a great opportunity for any US business looking for an entry into the Greek shipping market.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Greece’s ICT infrastructure is currently underdeveloped and below EU average. Due to EU and Greek government incentives, the sector is expected to grow in the foreseeable future. Investing in the sector right now would give a head-start to US business, resulting in great competitive advantages in the medium and long term.
Greece’s ICT infrastructure is currently underdeveloped and below EU average. Due to EU and Greek government incentives, the sector is expected to grow in the foreseeable future.
Currently, the IT hardware sector is hit the hardest by the crisis, with sales of equipment dropping in the past couple of years. IT services, like outsourcing, business consulting, and system integration have experienced a slight increase of 1.7% this past year. This is expected to grow. The sale of business softwares has also seen a modest growth of 0.7% last year.
The telecommunication sector seems less fortunate, with sales figures dropping or stagnating over the past year. However, the decline seems to be slowing and forecasts expect the sector to recover due to investments and public incentives.
Whether you decide to invest in, import from, or export to Greece, you’ll need a reliable company to handle your international payments.
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