Officials Hail Greece’s Economic Progress During Fourth Annual ExportUSA Forum



US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt addressing the Forum on Monday

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said on Monday that he believes it is “pretty clear that Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s government has exceeded expectations in its first 120 days, and has done a tremendous amount of work to advance the reform agenda.”

The Ambassador made his remarks in a speech at the fourth annual ExportUSA Forum, which is being held in a central Athens hotel this week.

“As Secretary of State Pompeo reinforced in his visit to Athens last month, the United States believes that Greece is making great strides towards creating a more welcoming business climate for investors and entrepreneurs, and how that is helping to grow our trade relationship,” Pyatt noted.

Greece’s trade with the United States rose to 1.42 billion dollars through the first half of 2019, which represents an increase of 22.6 percent from the same period last year, Pyatt observed, while Greece’s exports to the U.S. increased an impressive 56.5 percent.

“And of course, in 2017, the Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program ranked Greece as the fastest-growing source of direct foreign investment in the United States,” the Ambassador added.

“We consider Greece to be an important economic partner, not just on its own terms, but also as a gateway to the Western Balkans and Southeastern Europe,” Pyatt assured the assembled officials.

Meanwhile, President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Nikolaos Bakatselos, who also spoke at the Forum on Monday, stated that current Greek-US relations are at their strongest apex. He added that commercial relations between the two countries within the framework of the Strategic Dialogue are constantly gaining momentum as well.

Bakatselos said that the visits of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Greece demonstrate the importance that both the US and Greece attach to this relationship.

“A relationship,” he added, which has “mutual investment interests, highlighting Greece’s geostrategic position.”

Bakatselos also noted how Greek exports to the US increased by 7.17 percent in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period last year, reaching a value of 673.06 million euros. The chamber of Commerce head estimated that these figures can improve even more with broader business plans, more targeting and deeper specialization.

Direct United States investment in Greece surpassed 1.2 billion euros in 2018, up 16 percent from 2017, said Bakatselos.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Kostas Skrekas also represented the Greek government at the ExportUSA forum.