The economic and commercial relations between Greece and Romania are of great importance for both countries and have proved to be solid over the years, presenting constantly increasing dynamics. Due to the geographical proximity, cultural bonds that survived throughout the years, and the common interests in the sectors of bilateral trade, investment and tourism, Greece and Romania are consistently improving their close cooperation.
Bilateral Trade steadily increases
In 2017 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 1,766.2 billion euros. Greek exports to Romania amounted to € 871.43 million, representing an increase of 13,31%, while imports from Romania were € 894.8 million, representing an increase of 16,22% compared to 2016.
According to the statistics provided by the Romanian National Institute of Statistics (INS), the bilateral trade during the 11 first months of 2017 reached the amount of 1,271.28 millions euros from which Greek exports to Romania represented 796.42 million Euros with an increase of 9.55% and Romanian exports to Greece represented 812.17 million euros with an important increase of 19.58%.
Romania ranks 17th among the leading providers of Greece and 16th 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 2018, 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 185,000 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 and iron products, plastic products, cosmetics and toys.
The direct contact of Romanians with Greek cuisine during their holidays has also contributed to the entrance of Greek agricultural and dairy products in the Romanian market, a trend which is expected to continue. Finally, Greek fashion brands in the field of shoes, clothes and jewellery have had a positive impact on Romanian fashion market.
Greek Investments in Romania
During the last decades, Romania has been an important destination for Greek investments. In the end of 2017, Greece ranked 7th among the countries that invested in Romania, with 6,988 companies of Greek participation registered at the Commercial Registry of Romania, the total investment of which surpassed 1,8 bn euros (ONRC).
Based on the ONRC data, 410 new companies of Greek interest were established in Romania during 2017 and the share of the total Greek invested capital in Romania reached up to 4.18%.
According to the estimations of the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of Greece in Romania, over 1,500 Greek companies are currently active in Romania, with the total invested capital of companies of Greek interest surpassing 4 billion euros, taking 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, Bancpost, Banca Romanieasca, 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 companies pertaining to Greek interests, vary in size from medium to large scale and employ currently almost 20,000 employees.
New investments were made during recent years, including investments by CocaCola HBC (Hellenic Bottling Company), ICME-ECAB, ALUMIL, FATROM, Divertiland etc).
Greece: An all year favorite destination for Romanians
Greece once again became the first tourist destination for Romanians. We would like to thank the Romanian Association of Tour Operators “ANAT” as well as the Romanian people who visit our country. Overall, in 2017, Greece received around 30 million foreigners who spent over 15 billion euros.
According to the official data from ELSTAT, in the first nine months of 2017 about 1,073,500 Romanian tourists arrived in Greece in comparison to 947,200 tourists during the same period of 2016, representing an impressive increase of 13.3%. According to the data from ANAT in 2017 the number of Romanian tourists that travelled to Greece exceeded 1,300,000 persons.
The average Romanian tourist visiting Greece stays about 7 days and spends approximately 400 €, without taking into account the travel expenses. Their main destinations are: the Region of Northern Greece and in particular Halkidiki, Thasos, Pieria and Thessaloniki, as well as Evoia, the Ionian Islands and Parga. The charter flights during the summer to Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Zakynthos, Skiathos, Cyclades as well as charter flights to Athens from Contanţa, Cluj and other cities further enhance travelling to regions of Southern Greece.
During 2017, the number of traffic by air increased by 16,82% in comparison to 2016. According to the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, 335,270 people travelled from Romania to Greece, out of which 302,640 travelled by air from Bucharest to Athens and 32,631 to other destinations. There are 3 direct flights per day between Bucharest and Athens, one from Bucharest to Thessaloniki and soon one more from Cluz to Athens will be added in the flight map.
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 specialized kinds of tourism, such as religious, culinary and health tourism, as well as agrotourism or conference tourism. It is well known that Greece is a destination for all seasons and all preferences.
In 2018, Greece is expected to attract even more tourists from Romania than in previous years, given the fact that the country remains a well – known destination of preference for Romanians. It is stable and secure, with a variety of landscape, hospitable throughout the year providing high quality products and a wide spectrum of holiday activities. Furthermore, as Romanians tend to have a better acquaintance of Greece, they are more inclined to discover more and more Greek destinations, including Northern Aegean Islands (Samos, Lesvos, Ikaria, Chios, Limnos), the Peloponnese Region, Epirus, Thessaly and more Cycladic Islands.
The result oriented 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 in the enhancement of networking between Greek and Romanian companies for the exploration of potential synergies.
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 collaborating in the field of transfer of know – how in tourism and implementation of European Union Programmes.