Greece, Albania to Deepen and Expand Economic Cooperation
Albanian Daily News
Published January 26, 2016

The initiative to create the Guide of Greek-Albanian Enterprises, which includes ventures of Greek interests (Greek ventures, the Greek minority ventures and mix enterprises) constitutes a substantial contribution to the business community, as it covers, in part, the gap that exists in Albania, due to the lack of circulation of the annual official guidelines (directory), which makes it difficult to identify the enterprises according to their sector of activity. This publication summarizes profiles of 130 businesses. It contains numerous, relevant and useful information of economic, trade and entrepreneur interest, to every Greek entrepreneur who wishes to expand their activities in Albania, said Georgios Tsipras

TIRANA – “Good economic relations are one of the conditions for cooperation and harmonious coexistence in the Balkans and I consider as very positive the fact that trade and investment relations of Greece with Albania are at a good level. We wish to further develop our bilateral economic relations, to expand them in new areas of economic cooperation. We believe that further improvement and development of our political and economic relations, operate clearly and exclusively in favor of the interests and welfare of the two peoples,” Secretary General of International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Georgios Tsipras declared in an interview. 

During the interview, he talked about the new initiative to be launched on January 26, the Greek-Albanian Enterprises Guide which, according to him, constitutes a substantial contribution to the business community, as it covers, in part, the gap that exists in Albania, due to the lack of circulation of the annual official guidelines (directory), which makes it difficult to identify the enterprises according to their sector of activity.

Further on, he also spoke about the Greek investments in Albania and the potential to further boost them in the future. “Greece is the second trade partner of Albania and the first foreign investor. Despite the unfavorable economic conjecture of the recent years, Greek enterprises continue to invest in Albania. From 2011 and up to date, total investment capital has been doubled and the presence of Greek investments is dynamic and growing,” he said while expressing the belief that in the future the economic ties will be sent to another level.

The full interview continues as follows:

-How do you evaluate your expected trip and presence in Albania?

-Greece is a pillar of peace, tranquility and cooperation in the region. For our country, 2015 was a year of reversing the course of the crisis as well as of stabilizing our position within the Eurozone. 2016 will be the year of growth and a starting point to reboot the Greek economy, in an internal climate of political, economic and social stability, social justice and justified expectations of our people for prosperity and better days.

Good economic relations are one of the conditions for cooperation and harmonious coexistence in the Balkans and I consider as very positive the fact that trade and investment relations of Greece with Albania are at a good level. We wish to further develop our bilateral economic relations, to expand them in new areas of economic cooperation. We believe that further improvement and development of our political and economic relations, operates clearly and exclusively in favor of the interests and welfare of the two peoples.

-For the first time, you are promoting the preparation of a guide with information on entrepreneurship, for Greek and Albanian businessmen. What will be the benefit for entrepreneurs and how do you think it will strengthen cooperation between them?

-The initiative to create the Guide of Greek-Albanian Enterprises, which includes ventures of Greek interests (Greek ventures, the Greek minority ventures and mix enterprises) constitutes a substantial contribution to the business community, as it covers, in part, the gap that exists in Albania, due to the lack of circulation of the annual official guidelines (directory), which makes it difficult to identify the enterprises according to their sector of activity.

This publication summarizes profiles of 130 businesses. It contains numerous, relevant and useful information of economic, trade and entrepreneur interest, to every Greek entrepreneur who wishes to expand their activities in Albania and it is expected to give impetus to new cooperation, mutually beneficial between business communities and entrepreneurs of the two countries.

In the special event that takes place on 26 January 2016, I will have the pleasure to present the first electronic edition and I invite the entrepreneurship community to participate.

The Guide of the Greek-Albanian Enterprise will be updated at regular intervals.

-What are the sectors of Albanian economy that Greek entrepreneurs consider the most attractive for investment in our country and which, in your opinion, can be considered collaborations that have brought greater investment and more income?

-As you know, Greece is, since many years, the first foreign investor in Albania with a total investment capital of 1,169.41 million euros and a share of 26% of total FDI. Greek enterprises operate in key sectors of the Albanian economy. The most important of these sectors are: the banking sector, telecommunications, and IT enterprises (ITC), the construction sector, production and marketing of construction materials, industry in general, services in health, education, trade, aquaculture, accounting, legal and consulting services, as well as other services. Also, Greek franchise enterprises open stores in your country.

In Albania operate three of the four banks of the Greek banking system (Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece and Tirana Bank of Piraeus Bank Group), which, according to the Association of Banks in Albania, in 2014 owned 16.84% of the total assets in the Albanian banking market (1,609 billion euros to a total of 9.558 billion euros) and 16.41% of total deposits.

Besides the banking sector, Greek enterprises and minority companies which currently operate in Albania, there is a significant number of Albanian enterprises representing Greek ventures, which import Greek products, have Greek executives and high-level officials and generally maintain partnership with our country.

Greek enterprises in Albania constitute a substantial part of the entrepreneurial community in the country. According to official Albanian figures, more than 600 enterprises with Greek capital operate in Albania , contributing significantly to the development of the Albanian economy, to tax revenue, employment and the transfer of technical expertise.

In particular, I would like to place emphasis on a new and important field of common activity, the energy sector, and in particular, to the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will give the two countries an opportunity for diversification of energy sources and guarantee our energy security. At the same time, it will promote the development through new investments and the opening of hundreds of new jobs for our participating countries.

-Why Greek enterprises prefer Albania compared with other Balkan countries? Does Albania offer fiscal incentives in the climate of entrepreneurship?

-As you know, the presence of Greek entrepreneurship is strong even in other Balkan countries, apart from Albania. Albania, although a small country, is a neighboring market, and easily accessible.

Proximity, low taxes and attractive climate for entrepreneurship, although they are important criteria for Greek enterprises, are not the only ones. For example, Albania until recently had a fixed rate of 10% income tax for business. Today, the relevant tax rate reaches 15%, but this has not affected the activity of Greek enterprises.

Albania has a community of mature customers who use Greek products, due to their familiarity to Greek consuming and nutrition habits, and even due to Albanians’ emigration to Greece, due to the presence of the Greek minority, as well as a considerable number of Greeks living and working mainly in Tirana. Moreover, the use of the Greek language is very widespread, especially in the south of Albania and this fact contributes to communication and familiarity with potential partners.

Perhaps more Greek ventures would have chosen Albania to develop their activity, if there had been made relative improvements in areas such as infrastructure, the functioning of public administration, the functioning of powers, the informal economy, etc.

-Greece is at the moment, the largest foreign investor in Albania. Considering the economic situation prevailing in your country, do you think that there will be a transfer of Greek enterprises activity towards Albania?

-Indeed, Greece is the second trade partner of Albania and the first foreign investor. Despite the unfavorable economic conjecture of the recent years, Greek enterprises continue to invest in Albania. From 2011 and up to date, total investment capital has been doubled and the presence of Greek investments is dynamic and growing.

This impressive growth of the Greek FDI is attributable, mainly, to growth of capital (purchase of shares of Albanian companies, loans or investment of portfolio by parent companies), as well as creation of new companies.

I would not say that Albania is an easy and risk-free market. Here there are risks too, which the prospective investor should consider before deciding to invest. Meanwhile, the Greek entrepreneur can more easily handle the peculiarities of the Albanian market, because osmosis and familiarity between our two societies in the sense of perceptions, habits and practices, it is a known fact.

Greek ventures investing in Albania want, for the most part, to expand the activities of the parent company, located in Greece, in other markets abroad, so as to increase profits and their purpose is not to terminate their activity in Greece and transfer it to Albania in order to survive in a more "favorable" environment.

As for the future, I hope that we will further develop bilateral economic relations with Albania, we will develop current sectors of economic cooperation; we will expand into new sectors and, of course, we will continue to support with all possible means the Greek enterprises which choose to exercise their trade or investment activity in Albania.






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