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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

Greece has an export-oriented economy, with trade representing 61% of the GDP (WTO, 2016). Its main trading partners are the European Union (especially Italy and Germany), Turkey and Russia.

Structurally in deficit, the trade balance had improved since 2009 due to imports declining more quickly than exports. This trend slowed down in 2015 with the trade deficit in goods stabilising at USD 20 billion and exports of services reaching their lowest level since 2012 (USD 27.8 billion in 2016, WTO). Exports tied to maritime commerce in particular have been penalised by capital controls.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 63,32962,16663,77448,41748,592
Exports of Goods (million USD) 35,44136,60136,16328,61728,137
Imports of Services (million USD) 15,65916,14516,77912,04810,715
Exports of Services (million USD) 34,58337,04440,95430,75727,777
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -9.1-2.47.60.3-0.4
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.21.57.83.4-2.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.133.234.931.830.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.730.432.531.930.2
Trade Balance (million USD) -25,281-27,616-29,541-19,119-18,335
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 61.863.567.463.761.0

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
Italy 11.2%
Germany 7.7%
Cyprus 6.1%
Turkey 5.4%
Bulgaria 5.0%
United States 4.4%
United Kingdom 4.2%
Lebanon 4.2%
Egypt 3.0%
Romania 3.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
Germany 10.9%
Italy 8.3%
China 6.7%
Russia 6.6%
Iraq 5.5%
Netherlands 5.5%
France 4.4%
South Korea 4.2%
Spain 3.6%
Belgium 3.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

27.8 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 26.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.8%
Olive oil and its fractions obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 2.3%
Plates, sheets and strip, of aluminium, of a thickness of > 0,2 mm (excl. expanded plates, sheets and strip) 2.2%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.1%
Fish, fresh or chilled (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 2.0%
Other vegetables prepared or preserved otherwise than by vinegar or acetic acid, not frozen (excl. preserved by sugar, and tomatoes, mushrooms and truffles) 1.6%
Cheese and curd 1.6%
Copper tubes and pipes 1.3%
Cotton, neither carded nor combed 1.2%
47.6 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 14.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 5.4%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 4.9%
Cruise ships, excursion boats, ferry-boats, cargo ships, barges and similar vessels for the transport of persons or goods 4.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.4%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.6%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.5%
Polymers of ethylene, in primary forms 1.1%
Unwrought aluminium 1.0%
Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen 1.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

82.2 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Travel
43.32%
Transportation
42.38%
Other business services
5.32%
Construction services
2.73%
Computer and information services
1.66%
Insurance services
1.40%
Communications services
1.24%
Cultural and recreational services
0.67%
Government services
0.59%
Financial services
0.44%
Royalties and license fees
0.26%
33.3 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Transportation
49.86%
Travel
16.57%
Insurance services
9.19%
Other business services
9.19%
Communications services
3.31%
Construction services
2.78%
Royalties and license fees
2.70%
Computer and information services
2.03%
Financial services
1.88%
Cultural and recreational services
1.44%
Government services
1.06%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Euro (EUR)
Exchange Rate Regime
Floating exchange rate system.
Level of Currency Instability
Exchange risks limited since the euro is a major currency.
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20122013201420152016
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.810.780.780.940.94

Source: The European Central Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Party of the TIR Convention
Yes

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Within the European Union, goods originating in the Community can move freely, and are exempt from Customs formalities.

The documents which have to accompany the goods when they are delivered inside the Community are the following:
- Bill of lading or airway bill
- Certificate of origin
- Commercial invoice
- Declaration of an antique

For a transaction outside the Community, you have to add:
- Import licenses
- Certifications
- Single Administrative Document (SAD)
- Health certificate
Free Zones
Greece has three free trade zones, located at the Piraeus, Thessaloniki, and Heraklion port areas. Goods of foreign origin may be brought into these zones without payment of customs duties or other taxes and remain free of all duties and taxes if subsequently trans-shipped or re-exported.
 
Documents relating to the receipt, storage, or transfer of goods within the zones are free from stamp taxes.
 
Handling operations are carried out according to EU regulations 2504/88 and 2562/90.
Transit goods may be held in the zones free of bond. The zones may be used for re-packing, sorting and re-labeling operations.
For Further Information
Greek Law Digest: Customs Information
Greek Customs Authorities
EU Customs and Taxation Union
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Non Tariff Barriers
In accordance with its European Union membership, Greece applies the European Union (EU) rules that are in force in all European Union countries. While the EU has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, there is a certain number of restrictions, especially on farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) including: the application of compensations on import and export of farm products, aimed at favouring the development of agriculture within the EU, implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for the goods entering the EU territory. Greece maintains nationality restrictions on a number of professional and business services, including legal advice. These restrictions do not apply to EU citizens. 
Assessment of Commercial Policy
The WTO pages dedicated to Greece
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States

Learn more about How to Export to Greece on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
Hellenic Organisation for Standardisation (ELOT)
Integration in the International Standards Network
Greece is a member of ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) as well of CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation).
Obligation to Use Standards
According to law 372/76, the implementation of Hellenic Standards, is voluntary, as it happens in most countries. Some of them become mandatory by national or EEC legislation.
Classification of Standards
CE is the European certification mark and is compulsory for a country to be able to sell on the common market.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
Conformity assessment bodies in individual member states are listed in NANDO, the European Commission’s website.
Online Consultation of Standards
Visit the website of ELOT for more information.
Certification Organisations
Hellenic Organisation for Standardisation (ELOT)

 

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Last Updates: October 2017