Focus On Greece
The birthplace of democracy and a significant contributor to culture in the western world, Greece's influence has widely shaped generation after generation of western thinking.
But in recent years the country has faced a sovereign debt crisis triggered by the Great Recession of 2009, weaknesses in the economy’s structure, and the undercounting of government debt levels and deficits.
And with around €320 billion of debt (180% of GDP), unemployment standing at just under 24% (the highest rate in Europe), and a number of harsh austerity measures (including the overhaul of the pension system), Greece has been the stage for a series of protests from angry citizens. Meanwhile the country received its third bailout last year (The nation has been the subject of the biggest rescue programme in global financial history - €326 billion in bailout loans have been received since May 2010).
The economy of Greece is currently the 45th largest in the world with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $195.212 billion per annum. The nation remains a vital market for the UK’s goods and services, despite a decline is UK exports as a result of the debt crisis.
The Department for International Trade put Greece as the UK’s 43rd largest export market for goods, and UK exports to Greece were worth £2.2 billion in 2015. The DIT list the UK’s top 10 exports to Greece as being:
• Medicinal and pharmaceutical products
• Miscellaneous manufactured articles
• Petroleum and petroleum products
• Clothing and clothing accessories
• Road vehicles
• Oils, resinoids, and perfume materials
• Telecommunications and sound recording equipment
• Electrical machinery and appliances
• General industrial machinery and equipment
By no means is Greece devoid of serious opportunities for UK businesses. The Greek Privatisation Fund (TAIPED) was established in 2011 to set up a broad privatisation programme that includes roads, rail, ports, property, and public utilities, and these projects can result in a variety of opportunities for UK businesses spanning a number of sectors.