Mitsotakis, business delegation to visit India on February 20-24

Indian Kyriakos Mitsotakis Narendra Modi in Athens 25 August 2023 India Greece

With Greece recovering investment grade status and its effects already working like a tailwind, the effort to diversify the Greek economy is picking up pace.

Important missions to India and Serbia include a large group of Greek businessmen. They are being organised by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion, Kostas Fragogiannis, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Enterprise Greece.

The first mission took place on February 1-2 in Turkey, aiming to strengthen bilateral economic relations and rekindle investment interests. The second one will take place in Serbia (February 11-12) and is targeted at the construction industry due to the large projects starting in the Balkan country. A third mission of great business interest will take place in India (February 20-24) in an effort to unlock the vast Asian market of 1.4 billion people.

In the meantime, economic diplomacy will participate in the bilateral dialogue between Greece and the USA, which this time will be held in Washington (February 6-10) under the Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Gerapetritis, as well as in the ministerial meeting of the member countries of the World Organization of Trade, which will take place in Abu Dhabi, on February 25-27.

India

The prime minister's interest in the mission to Turkey is intense, as well as to India. Especially for the latter, as the large business mission is organised for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who will also appear as a central guest at the annual International Relations and Foreign Policy Forum (Raisina Dialogue) organised by the Government of India.

It was preceded last August by the official visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to Athens, accompanied by a small business mission, in the context of the search for strategic partnerships; now, India is looking for a commercial and economical passage in the Mediterranean.

In fact, the business mission will have three main points: New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, since the first city is the political centre of the country, the second the commercial one and the third the technological one.

In fact, the business mission being prepared for India concerns many areas of particular interest to the Greek side. Thus, there will be participation from the sectors of high technology, logistics, and pharmaceuticals, as India is the largest producer of generics in the world, as well as construction, energy, and tourism.

"The prospects are huge. India is a large and emerging country on the international economic and political scene, with a population approaching 1.4 billion people. There are many opportunities, and we must take advantage of them," said Mr Fragogiannis.

It is noted that based on the latest available annual data, the volume of bilateral trade between Greece and India in 2022 was only 1.32 billion euros, although it increased by almost 60% compared to a year ago.

Greek exports were 234.7 million euros, and our imports from India reached 1.08 billion euros. In other words, the trade balance showed a deficit against our country (-847.06 million euros). In 2023, at the level of the year's first half, Greek exports fell to 78 million euros, mainly due to the decrease in oil exports and imports to 515.3 million euros.

Economic diplomacy estimates that for our country, there is great scope for improving our bilateral economic relations in a wide range of sectors, such as construction materials, food and beverages, the defence industry, Renewable Energy Sources, high technology, agriculture, shipping and tourism.

In terms of investments, again, the numbers are particularly small, effectively revealing the absence of significant investment activity by both Greek companies in India and Indians in Greece.

The first Indian businessmen who made serious investments in Greece in recent years are Taizoon Khorakiwala, who, through the Switz Group, has made a series of acquisitions of small and medium-sized businesses in the food sector (Kriton Artos, Koulourades, Olympic Foods, Artizan Hellas, Ioniki Sfoliata), as well as pharmaceutical engineer Binish Chudgar of Intas Pharmaceuticals. The latter, through its European subsidiary, Accord, created and operated a drug factory in Schimatari since last year.

It should be noted that Intas is one of the world's leading multinational pharmaceutical development, production and marketing companies. It has a presence in 85 countries, and 70% of its revenue comes from international markets, especially the strictly regulated EU and USA markets.

At the level of Indian presence in our country, the participation of the GMR group in the management company of the new airport in Kasteli Heraklion is also noteworthy. The New Delhi-based group is among the largest airport developers across Asia.

On the other hand, the most important Greek presence in India, where most of the offices of shipping companies operate, is the joint venture (40-60) created by businessman Spyros Theodoropoulos with Britchip Foods, a subsidiary of Britannia Industries, for production and distribution of croissants.

In fact, the joint venture was planning the creation of a second factory. The specific participation of Mr. Theodoropoulos was excluded from the big sale deal of Chipita to Mondelez International and is now controlled by the newly established ST Bakery Foods.

READ MORE: European Farmers Frustrated, Take to Streets Across the Continent.

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