Israeli investment interest in Greece has risen significantly, based on investment demands submitted with the Greek embassy in Israel.
The Greek embassy, in an annual report on bilateral economic relations, said that bilateral trade grew 66.35 pct in volume to 977.96 million euros in 2017, compared with 2016. Exports grew 63.59 pct to 442.42 million euros and imports rose 68.70 pct to 535.54 million euros, leaving a trade deficit of 93.12 million euros, up 98.11 pct compared with the previous year.
These figures showed an almost equal increase in both exports and imports. Greek imports focused on fossil fuel, chemicals, plastics, machinery equipment and fertilisers, while Greek exports were mainly fossil fuel, building materials (cement), plastics, iron/steel products, machinery, boilers, fruit/vegetable, paper products, tobacco, toys, sport items, furniture, detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
The embassy report said that Israeli businesses were interested in cooperating with Greek enterprises in the fields of real estate, foods, building materials and raw materials, while tourism also grew by 12.9 pct in 2017.
Foreign Direct Investments from Israel to Greece amounted to 32 million euros in 2017, up from 26.7 million in 2016, according to provisional figures released by the Bank of Greece. The embassy report said that Israeli investments in Greece focused on entertainment (casino, hotels), insurance services and renewable energy sources. It added that a Greek privatisation programme has attracted Israeli investors’ interest and particularly in the environmental sector (management and processing of liquid and solid waste), energy, tourism, real estate, IT, space and the defence industry.
The report noted there was remarkable room to attract Israeli investments in the fields of private-public sector joint ventures to develop infrastructure, public sector property exploitation and privatisation of state-owned companies. Also, fields related with “green” development and the relocation of medium-sized manufacturing units from Israel to existing industrial zones in Greece (to benefit from lower labour cost, high-level skills and to exploit the fact that Greece is an EU member-state). Israeli businessmen were also interested in the tourism sector (marinas, hotels, medical tourism).