Expenditures and Activities of
European Union (EU) Member Countries
The agricultural sector, and the food and beverage sector in particular, is the highest foreign exchange earner of the Greek economy, with exports accounting for at least 30 percent of total Greek exports. Most promotional programs and trade exhibitions are handled by the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, a quasi-government organization, which devotes about $18 million per year to agricultural export promotion. The Board is funded by national and private funds. Private funds cover 20 percent of its expenditures. The Board covers the 55 percent of the booth cost at trade fairs. The remaining 45 percent is covered by individual companies that participate in the Greek National Pavilion (which is organized by the Board). However, some EU funds are occasionally used when the Board participates in EU-funded promotional activities for specific products, such as olive oil. .
The agricultural sector is a vital part of the Greek economy, and many domestic and EU policy decisions revolve around the objective of protecting and promoting agricultural production in Greece. Greece seeks to promote those products, in which it has a comparative advantage. Olive oil, wine, ouzo, and some food products, such as feta cheese, are promoted in Europe and the United States. In CY 1998, total Greek imports amounted to $28.6 billion, of which $4.6 billion were agricultural products. Total exports for the same period were $10.3 billion, of which $3.5 billion were agricultural products
Olive oil is promoted through the Promotional Committee of Standardized Olive Oil and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board. The last promotional olive oil campaign ended in September of 1998. Since that date, no EU funds have been received for the olive oil promotion. Individual exporters and the associations handle a budget of $300,000 to promote the olives and olive oil abroad.
The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board organized a promotional campaign for fresh fruits in 1999 totaling $300,000. In particular, table grapes and peaches were promoted to England, Germany, Poland, Holland, and Hungary. The promotional campaign included in-store promotions, distribution of pamphlets, tasting events and articles in newspapers. Leather goods are promoted through the Board as well. With a budget of $483,000, the Board, in cooperation with the Greek Leather Center, will implement promotional activities including fair participation, sampling, and advertisements in various countries including Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and others. In the future, commodities like fish, dairy products, and sultanas will be included on the list.
Greek law 1796/88 established the Organization for Insurance of Export Credits. This non-profit organization, governed by a 9-member committee under the Ministry of National Economy, has a budget of $100 million. Under its Memorandum of Association, the organization may insure up to 90 percent of the product value. The organization provides two types of insurance:
1) Type A: Single shipment: insurance of specific shipments going to specific recipients, or specific countries,
b) Type B: Global: insurance on an annual basis for all shipments and all destinations.
Insurance procedures require exporters to complete an application to the organization, including the specifics about the foreign importer. The application takes 5 to 6 days to be considered. After this period, the organization announces to the exporter the terms of the agreement and, if both sides agree, the insurance contract is prepared and signed.