The Embassy of Greece in the United Arab Emirates organized a business executive event - reception on 13 December 2008 in Majestic Hotel, Bur Dubai, honouring Greece's economic and commercial partners in the UAE.
The event was attended by the newly appointed Greek Ambassador to UAE HE Dionisios Zois, who will be presenting his credentials to the UAE authorities in the coming period.
The welcome speech was made by Mr. Anastasios Kourousis, Head of the Commercial Section of the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic in the UAE (Hellenic Trade Center in Dubai).
Below is the text of the speech:
I would like to welcome you to the annual business executive event organized by the Greek Embassy with the purpose to honour our Emirati economic partners and express them our willingness and readiness to further enhance our economic relations.
We have the pleasure to have among us tonight the new Greek Ambassador Mr Dionisios Zois who was very keen to attend this event despite the fact that, he has not yet met anybody at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to this holiday period and therefore out of respect to the protocol he cannot address you officially tonight.
We live in a country with one of the most vibrant economy of the world and we believe that there exist a lot of business opportunities between the UAE and Greece, our country being an EU member state, in proximity to both the Balkan and Middle East regions. Despite the steady growth of the bilateral trade between our two countries, it does not reflect the existing potentials. There is definitely scope for improvement as the perspectives of the UAE market are very promising.
Economic and Commercial relations between Greece and the UAE are growing steadily. During the first nine months of this year our exports increased by 35% to 161 million Euro (about 800 million Aed) compared to the same period of last year. The UAE is definitely an important trade partner for Greece taking into account that it is our tenth largest export market outside the European Union. Main Greek exports are the telecommunication material, building materials petroleum and aluminium products, fur coats, foodstuff etc. Greece imports from the UAE, traditional emirati goods such as aluminium and tiles, amounted to 35 million euro (175 million AED).
Tourism for example is an industry with significant opportunities for both countries. The number of Greek tourists visiting UAE has increased steadily the last few years as UAE in general and Dubai in particular had become a very popular destination, classified amongst the first five in the Greek Tourist market. Hopefully the number of Emiratis tourists visiting Greece will be increased respectively. We sincerely anticipate that Emirati investors will take advantage of the many tourist opportunities which exist in Greece.
In the UAE more than 120 Greek companies of different sectors are currently operating in the local market or in several free trade zones. Only in Deira there are 30 sales points of Greek furs. There are also companies operating in the construction and shipping sectors, others provide maritime services, business solutions etc. The number of Greek companies is expected to grow in the coming years as more and more Greek businessmen and investors continue to show interest to the UAE market considering that the country will continue, despite the credit crunch, to grow robustly.
In 2007 the number of Greek expatriates in the UAE was over 1.000, some of them living in the country for more than 20 years, while every year an increasing number of newcomers are setting up in the UAE.
I would like to assure you that the Greek government and the Greek business community are sincerely willing to further develop our relations with the UAE and, in this respect, I would like to stress that the Greek Embassy in Abu Dhabi and our Trade Centre in Dubai are always ready to assist you in any possible way.
Thank you for your attention. Please enjoy the evening in which we tried to add a Greek touch.