Notable Greek Australians from the business community gathered via Zoom on Wednesday with George Filiopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Greece, to share their concerns regarding Australia’s trade with Europe and opportunities between Greece and Australia.
Attention was cast on changes within Greece in recent years, especially concerning business legislation, with an emphasis on tax reduction. The current situation was also spotlighted in regards to recent tension with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean but also the ties between Greece and Australia thanks to a thriving Hellenic diaspora.
Paul Nicolaou, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosted the meeting, along with Katia Gkikiza, Trade Commissioner (Australia) from the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs for the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney.
“We have a positive trade trend both in goods and services,” Ms Gkikiza said, noting an 11.4 per cent increase in Greek exports of goods to Australia in the first six months of 2020.
“In fact, the volume of trade between Australia and Greece is well above 1 billion euros in recent years.
“This is not bad at all for a small country on the other side of the world, but we would be happy to do even better.”
Mr Filiopoulos spoke of advances in renewable energy and Greece’s inter-ministerial committee on strategic investments which recently approved eight tourist-related projects with a combined budget of 1.1 billion euros. “Those projects are expected to add 3300 jobs in the Greek workforce,” he said.
He also showcased Greece as a destination to retire to, especially following a new government incentive, which encourages retirees to choose Greece as their tax residence by offering a flat tax rate of 7 per cent.
The 120 participants present showed interest in the business opportunities with Greek Community of Melbourne President Bill Papastergiadis asking Mr Filiopoulos what progress has been made in the better management of Australian investments being managed more effectively in Greece. Mr Filopoulos said, “We do believe Australia has great potential for us because of the diaspora and because of the vibrant economy that Australia has.”
Mr Papastergiadis spoke of an offer to hold a meeting with the Office of Enterprise Greece at the Greek Centre in Lonsdale Street, to ensure easier investment management between Greece and Australia.
“One of the key links we have difficulty with is that people quite often get lost in translation, lost in the distance, and lost in the bureaucracy as well,” Mr Papastergiadis said, adding that this causes them to become “disheartened”.