The economic and commercial relations between Greece and Romania are of particular importance for both countries and have proved to be solid over the years. Due to the geographical proximity and the common interests in the sectors of bilateral trade, investment and tourism, Greece and Romania are constantly improving their close cooperation.
Bilateral Trade steadily increases
In 2016 the bilateral trade presented new impetus. According to the statistics provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT), the bilateral trade between Greece and Romania amounted to 1,525.9 billion euros. Greek exports to Romania amounted to 762,3 million euros, representing an increase of +4,41%, while imports from Romania were € 763,6 million, representing an increase of +4,35% compared to 2015.
According to the statistics provided by the Romanian National Institute of Statistics (INS), the bilateral trade during the 10 first months of 2016 reached the amount of 1,271.28 millions euros from which Greek exports to Romania represented 662.06 million Euros with an increase of +5,06% and Romanian exports to Greece represented 609.22 million euros with an increase of +0,04% and a positive balance of trade of 52.84 in favour of Greece.
Romania ranks 16th among the leading providers of Greece and 11th as a “client country”. However, bilateral trade still does not reflect the real potential (mainly in view of the geographical proximity) of the trade relations between the two countries, but we are confident that in the coming years it will reach 2 billion euros.
For 2017, an increase of around 10% is expected in bilateral trade. According to the latest data of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT), the most important food products exported from Greece to Romania are fruits and vegetables (oranges, kiwis, peaches, strawberries, water melons, apples, etc.) taking into consideration that Romania is the first market for Greek export of fruits, absorbing 186,000 tones of fruits and vegetables, followed by fruits and vegetables in cans (peaches-apricots in tins and tomato paste) and Greek traditional food like olives, oil olive, feta cheese, marmalades, pasta etc. Other important products exported to Romania are copper products, plastic products, cosmetics and toys.
Greek Investments in Romania
During the last decades, Romania has been an important destination for Greek investment. In the end of 2016, Greece ranked 7th among the countries that invested in Romania, with a total investment of over 4 billion euros and 6,578 companies of Greek participation registered at the Commercial Registry of Romania (ONRC).
According to the above, 300 new companies of Greek interest established in Romania during last year, irrespective of the economic crisis. Based on the data that the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of Greece in Bucharest has, more than 1,500 companies are active.
The share of the Greek invested capital in Romania reaches 4.38% of the total investments, ranking Greece in the 7th place among foreign investors. In terms of volume, the latest available data show an invested capital of 230 million euros. Nevertheless, this figure does not depict fully the reality. Based on the data the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs has, the invested capital amounted to around 500 million euros, if we take into consideration the volume of investments of Greek capital companies, their capital increase, their capital transfers through other countries (Cyprus, the Netherlands, Luxembourg) as well as the absorption of European Funds.
Greek investments are covering a wide spectrum of sectors: banking sector (Alpha Bank, Banca Romaneasca, Bancpost, Piraeus Bank), food and beverages (Chipita, Olympos Dairy, Ifantis, KB Karamolegos, Best Foods, Coca-Cola HBC, Alexandrion Group, Valvis Holding etc.), wholesale, retail and distribution networks (Genco Trade, Elgeka Ferfelis, Sarantis, Jumbo etc.), production of metallic products (ICME-ECAB, Alumil, Etem, Siderom etc.), building materials (Black Sea Suppliers, Isomat, Atlas Corporation etc.), health services and equipment (Medsana, Sofmedica, Euromedics, Imedica, Cytogenomic etc.), agriculture and livestock (FATROM, Minco etc.), consulting and legal services (ICAP, TPG Group, law firms Rokas, E. Navridis, Drakopoulos etc.), constructions (Aktor, Octagon etc).
The Greek interest companies whose size varies from medium to large scale employ currently almost 20,000 persons.
New investments were made during the last years, including investments of CocaCola HBC (Hellenic Bottling Company), ICME-ECAB, ALUMIL, FATROM, Divertiland etc).
Greece: A destination for all seasons and all preferences
Greece became the first tourist destination for Romanians and we would like to thank the Romanian Association of Tour Operators “ANAT” and also the Romanian people who visit our country. In 2016, Greece received around 27 million foreigners who spent around 15.5 billion euros.
Following the official data from ‘ELSTAT’ in the first nine months of 2016 about 947,200 Romanian tourists arrived in Greece in comparison with 469,782 tourists during the same period of 2015, representing an amazing increase of 102,05%. Pursuant to the data from ANAT in 2016 the number of Romanian tourist that travels to Greece exceeded 1,000,000 persons.
The average Romanian tourist visiting Greece stays about 7 days and spends approximately 400 euros, without calculating the travel expenses. His main destinations are: North of Greece and the regions of Halkidiki, Thasos, Pieria and Thessaloniki. The charter flights during the summer to Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Zakynthos, Skiathos, Cyclades as well as the flights to Athens from Contanţa, Cluj and other cities will further enhance travelling to regions of Southern Greece.
During 2016 the number of traffic by air increased by 46% in comparison to 2015. According to the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, 335,270 travelled from Romania to Greece, out of which 249,796 travelled by air from Bucharest to Athens and 85,474 to other destinations. There are 3 direct flights per day between Bucharest and Athens, one from Bucharest to Thessaloniki and – especially during summer – charter flights that link Romanian cities and Greek islands.
During their stay in Greece, Romanian tourists enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine, the ‘philoxenia’ (hospitality) of the Greek people, benefitting from the sea and the sun and experiencing different kinds of tourism, such as religious, conventional, rural, culinary and health tourism. It is well known that Greece is a destination for all seasons and all preferences.
In 2017, Greece is expected to attract even more tourists than in previous years, given the fact that the country remains a secure destination.
The dedicated ongoing work carried out by the governments, investors and businessmen of both countries is reflected in the statistics mentioned above. In addition, the Greek Romanian Chamber of Commerce plays a significant role, since it is another platform where economic and trade relations are mainly discussed and business stake holders are brought together.
We aim at further increasing our bilateral economic and commercial ties to the mutual benefit of our nations. Therefore, we are working on increasing our bilateral trade up to 2 billion euros, mutually enhancing foreign direct investments, increasing the tourist flows from both sides, continuing our cooperation in the European Union context and also cooperating in the field of know how transfer in tourism and implementation of European Union Programmes.