` Greek Leader Looks to China for Much-Needed Trade

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Greek Leader Looks to China for Much-Needed Trade

May. 14, 2013
By Michael Angelopoulos

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The Greek Prime Min­is­ter Anto­nis Sama­ras will be vis­it­ing China between 15 and 19 May. He will be accom­pa­nied by Greek offi­cials and sev­eral busi­ness­men — exclu­sively invited to join him on the trade mis­sion.

Mr. Sama­ras will meet with the new polit­i­cal lead­er­ship to dis­cuss pos­si­ble Chi­nese invest­ments in Greece. Sub­jects on the agenda will cover all aspects of the econ­omy.

Greece is in des­per­ate need of cash to deal with its recent bailout pro­gram and press­ing social unrest. Greece has been receiv­ing more than $350 bil­lion in install­ment pay­ments against harsh aus­ter­ity mea­sures, and the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion had led to pro­longed reces­sion.

On the other hand, the Greek gov­ern­ment is very inter­ested in open­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket for Greek prod­ucts, espe­cially in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. This includes olive oil, which is one of the lead­ing in the group of Greek prod­ucts highly appre­ci­ated by for­eign­ers.

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The pro­duc­tion period that ended in Feb­ru­ary brought encour­ag­ing results. Olive fruit pro­duc­tion was very high, how­ever the total olive oil pro­duc­tion had a below aver­age yield due to weather con­di­tions. Still, the sea­son man­aged to reach record num­bers. More­over, olive oil prices remain at spike lev­els with­stand­ing pres­sure from abroad.

The ongo­ing Price Mon­i­tor­ing Ser­vice of the Oil Asso­ci­a­tion of Munic­i­pal­i­ties of Crete in Greece, reports today that bulk prices for extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) stands at € 2.50, for imme­di­ate deliv­ery, FOB Crete. It is almost dou­ble what pro­duc­ers received in recent years.

This price tag is inflated by the fact that Spain, the major pro­ducer in Mediter­ranean basin, has suf­fered a severe pro­duc­tion decline due to the drought that hit the coun­try last year. How­ever, it is an encour­ag­ing go-sig­nal for the Greek offi­cials and local mar­ket movers.

Accord­ing to the Pan­hel­lenic Exporters Asso­ci­a­tion, olive oil exports have shown a spec­tac­u­lar increase of 221 per­cent, while only 90 per­cent of the growth was attrib­uted to ship­ments to the tra­di­tional trad­ing part­ners of Greece. New mar­kets accounted for the rest.

In gen­eral, agri­cul­tural prod­ucts had approx­i­mately a 10 or 11 per­cent year-to-year increase accord­ing to recent data pub­lished by the ElStat, the Greek Sta­tis­ti­cal Agency.

These fig­ures, along with a strong demand of Greek olive oil in the Far East, where it is often used as a med­i­cine, encour­ages the Greek Prime Min­is­ter in Bei­jing. The Greek gov­ern­ment strongly believes that olive oil is a reli­able prod­uct to pro­mote in bilat­eral trad­ing rela­tions extremely favored by the Greek soil and cli­mate con­di­tions.

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