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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM Molyviatis to meet Thursday with US secretary of state Rice in Washington
  • [02] Greek exports to the US jump 63 pct in Jan-Feb
  • [03] Small firms badly lagging in competitiveness
  • [04] Furnima trade show expects higher number of visitors, exhibitors

  • [01] FM Molyviatis to meet Thursday with US secretary of state Rice in Washington

    WASHINGTON (ANA/A.Ellis) - Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis was due to meet with US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice on Thursday in Washington, beginning a six-day official visit to the US.

    Bilateral cooperation, the situation in the Balkans, the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, Turkey's European course, trans-Atlantic relations and peace and democratisation in the Middle East will be the focus of discussion when Molyviatis meets with Bush administration officials.

    On Thursday, he will be meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and with Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush. On Thursday evening, Molyviatis will be interviewed by CNN International at 11:10 pm, Greek time.

    On Friday, Molyviatis will be arriving in New York where he will attend the official ceremony and a reception on occasion of Greek Independence Day.

    The Greek foreign minister will also be meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday, with whom he will discuss issues concerning the UN, since Greece is a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council for the period 2005-2006.

    Following his meeting with Annan, Molyviatis will return to Washington where he will attend a special ceremony at the White House in honour of Greek Independence Day as Bush's guest.

    [02] Greek exports to the US jump 63 pct in Jan-Feb

    Greek exports to the United States rose 63 percent in the first two months of 2005, to 132 million US dollars from 83 million dollars in the same period last year, according to figures by the American Importers Association.

    The figures, presented during a seminar organised by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also showed that Greek exports to the US totalled 723 million US dollars in 2004, up from 614 million dollars in the previous year, ranking Greece as America's 73rd largest trade partner.

    The Association expects all export sectors to increase further this year, with Greek entrepreneurs in the food/beverages, construction, building materials and metal products looking at positive prospects.

    [03] Small firms badly lagging in competitiveness

    Domestic small- and medium-sized enterprises were badly lagging in competitiveness between 1996 and 2003, according to a survey by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) released on Wednesday.

    One in two of the firms adopted a defensive strategy in dealing with a decline in sales, IOBE said.

    The overwhelming majority of companies polled (70.6%) mainly tap shareholders' equity, rather than bank loans or other forms of financing.

    In addition, the degree of use of European Union or national programmes for investment in technology and training is low, while funding for technological investment that the firms obtain is mainly destined for the market and renewal of machinery, and not for investments that entail risk, the survey said.

    The president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Drakoulis Fountoukakos, said the findings of the report were crucial to policy formation by the government - and to any strategy for adoption by the companies themselves - in order to meet increasing competition.

    Also addressing a presentation for the survey was Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who said that domestic firms needed to be more outgoing, adopting a more aggressive approach to openings in markets abroad.

    "This would be an offensive in order to make up lost ground," Sioufas said.

    [04] Furnima trade show expects higher number of visitors, exhibitors

    Furnima, an international furniture machinery, tools and raw materials trade fair, will be held in Thessaloniki between March 31 and April 3 at the Helexpo-TIF centre.

    Helexpo, the organiser of the fair, expects increased participation in the 11th Furnima fair, with increased numbers of commercial visitors from the Balkans and Cyprus, after a dynamic ad campaign in neighbouring countries.

    An innovation at this year's fair is 'Expo Partenariat', aimed at forging closer business ties.

    Helexpo said a total of 171 exhibitors so far will participate in Furnima, up from 104 in 2003, including Greek and foreign exhibitors from 18 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, USA, Spain, Israel, Italy, S. Korea, Hungary, Holland, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Taiwan, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

    The trade fair will cover an area of 6,282 square metres, up from 5,812 sq.m in 2003.


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