Greece, Romania may help each other weather economic crisis

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Greece and Romania can help each other so that by a bilateral trade supported by the business milieus and the governments of the two countries they may weather well the ongoing global economic crisis, Greece’s ambassador in Bucharest Georgios Poukamissas told a specialist forum on Wednesday.

‘Both Romania and Greece should have a pragmatic approach, the same as we could see at the business forum that started today in Bucharest. The position of Greek banks in Romania is a strong one and the banks are not influenced by the economic pressure from Greece, and that allow then to help small and medium-sized enterprises in both countries,’ said Poukamissas.

The business forum on the Greek-Romanian partnership and the business opportunities it provides is organised by the International Association of Greek Business People, the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania in an attempt to promote bilateral commercial exchanges between Romania and Greece.

Eurobank EFG Group Deputy Director General Nikolaos Karamouzis said that the first day of the ongoing forum in Bucharest, attended by 52 Romanian companies and 43 Greek companies, ended with 320 business contacts, which he said he hopes will materialise in valuable contracts that will boost trade between Greece and Romania in food and soft drinks.

Data presented by officials of the Romanian Ministry of Economy and Commerce indicate that trade between Romania and Greece in the first nine months of 2009 stood at 850 million euros, down 22.3 percent from the similar period of the year before. With a trade volume of 1.3 billion euros, Greece ranked 5th at end-October 2009 among foreign investors in Romania.

‘We want to equilibrate the trade balance in the future between exports and imports. Romanian exports to Greece stood at 500 million euros in November 2009, with 20 percent of them being agricultural products and food. This forum provides an excellent opportunity for Romania to expand business in Greece in the near future,’ director general with the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Milieu Mircea Toader told the participants.

Bancpost Chairman Mihai Bogza told the forum that his bank will continue to facilitate trade and investment in the two countries by extending loans to the small and medium-sized enterprises that are interested in doing business in both countries. ‘The SMEs of the two countries are our clients. We want to increase their number, especially in the food sector and the sector of soft drinks.

Romania is a strategic market where, despite what is thought globally, we want to expand, not contract, our business. We will certainly have to put up with difficulties, but we are bracing up to cope with them. Bancpost will actively support the commercial areas, which are the only one able to pull us out of the crisis,’ said Bogza.
The Romanian Chamber of Commerce and the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce are contemplating organising a similar forum in Thessalonica, Greece, in the near future, counting on a sizeable presence of Romanian SMEs.

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