Despite the economic crisis, Greece remains an important market for British goods and services. Greece is currently the UK’s 43rd largest export market and in 2012 bilateral trade in goods was worth £ 1.51bn. The value of UK exports of goods to Greece fell by 25% in 2012 to £844m. The value of Greek imports to the UK increased by 1% on 2011 figures to £663m in 2012. Services sector(s) proved resistant to the economic downturn and recorded further growth with UK exports of services valued at £ 2.4 bn in 2012. Greek exports of services to the UK were valued at £3.5 bn.
In 2012 top UK exports of goods to Greece by value were: medicinal and pharmaceutical products; miscellaneous manufactured articles; clothing and accessories; beverages and vehicles. Top UK imports of goods from Greece by value were vegetables and fruit; electrical machinery, nonferrous metals; medicinal and pharmaceutical products; and dairy products.
A pro-austerity coalition government was elected in June 2012 with New Democracy Leader, Antonis Samaras as Prime Minister. Samaras has been committed to pushing though an austerity package required for Greece to secure EU and IMF funds. These measures have to an extent stabilised the economic situation in Greece. However, the economy is still contracting and economists predict that growth will return in 2014.
Greece is in the process of privatising a large number of its state assets, including transport infrastructure, utilities, energy and real estate holdings. The programme, launched in 2011, aims to attract private investment to help restructure the Greek economy and pay down debt. This programme provides significant opportunity for UK professional services, including auditors and accountants, legal professionals, technical consultants and project managers. Further drivers to growth are the oil and gas projects: Socar and BP announced in June 2013 that TAP (Trans Adriatic pipeline)- a 1.5 billion euro pipeline project- will go through Greece, carrying Azeri gas to Europe. Recent oil and gas findings in Western Greece and the Ionian sea will also lead to further exploration and exploitation rounds.
As regards British companies, despite an inevitable sales drop, most have weathered the storm. In some cases, they also use Greece as a base for their SE European operations. The UK is a major investor in Greece with business interests in most sectors of the Greek economy. Many famous British names, from retail & banking to professional services, are established in Greece.
The UKTI Athens team can assist UK based companies who would like to find out more about opportunities in the Greek market. We can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org