Foods and beverages, minerals and metals have a prominent place in the 12 most competitive product categories for Greek exports
This is the result of a survey by the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the subject: “The growth of Greek enterprises will contribute significantly to further strengthening exports”.
Of these categories, according to the RES-IEP, the following four are more dynamic, as they managed to increase their comparative advantage and market share over the last decade (2008-2017):
Vegetable resins and plant extracts
Fats and oils of plant and animal production
Salt, sulfur, stones, gypsum, lime and cement and
The remaining eight categories, while increasing the value of exports, lost part of their comparative advantage and market share.
The 12 most competitive product categories are:
Fish and shellfish
Fish on ice
The value of Greek exports to fish in 2017 amounted to 660 million euros, accounting for 0.63% of global exports. Italy is the main destination for Greek fish, with 38.49% of exports coming out there. The countries of Northern Europe and the Iberian peninsula are the main competitors of Greece in fish. The competitive advantage can be further enhanced by investments aimed at increasing production and improving product standardization.
Fruit and fruits
The value of fruit and fruit exports in 2017 amounted to EUR 848 million.
Greece is an economy that traditionally relies on the primary production sector and therefore there are many products that have good export performance. They hold 0.80% of world exports
The main destinations of Greek exports are Germany, Romania, Italy, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria.
The most important competitors are the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
Greek businesses could turn to niche markets in the industry.
Plant resins and plant extracts
They hold 0.22% of world exports, with a value of 13 million for 2017. The main destinations for Greek exports are the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Turkey.
Over the last decade, Greek exports have grown proportionally more than global exports and increased their market share and comparative advantage.
Fats and oils of animal and vegetable production
The value of exports for fats and oils for 2017 was EUR 594 million and covers 0.68% of global exports.
It is one of the most competitive categories for Greece. The main destination is Italy, with a big difference from the rest.
Greece has to invest in product diversification strategies and in trying to create a further competitive advantage.
Preparations of vegetables, fruit and nuts.
For 2017, the value of exports to vegetable and fruit preparations amounted to 971 million. They hold 1.78% of world exports.
The main destinations are the US and Germany, although these products are exported to more than 23 countries. The companies in the industry are highly extrovert and have room for further growth.
Tobacco and industrial tobacco substitutes
The tobacco industry has in the past been the main pillar of the Greek economy and one of the most export industries. Although this picture seems to have changed quite a lot, as many industries have closed down, the export dynamics of tobacco remain significant.
They hold 1.20% of world exports, which corresponds to a value of EUR 484 million for the year 2017.
Most of the exports end up in markets in Europe, while major destinations are also the major markets of the rest of the world, such as China, Korea and the USA.
Salt, sulfur, stones, gypsum, lime and cement
In this category, Greece appears to have a strong competitive advantage since Greek exports in the period 2008-2017 increased proportionally more than in the rest of the world (62.4% and 15% , 1% increase, respectively).
As a result, Greece’s share of global markets increased, reaching 1.6% in 2017, equivalent to EUR 580 million in exports.
The geographical spread of Greek exports extends to all five continents, since they are not susceptible products and are relatively easily transported by sea.
Greater advantages are Greece’s key geographic location, as well as its considerable mineral wealth.
With such investments, the industry has a lot of room for growth.
Furs and artificial fur
Model with fur
Fur is a category of products in which Greece has a tradition.
The value of exports to furs for 2017 amounted to € 234 million.
This is reflected in the world market share held in this category (2.9%).
Although world exports have risen, Greek exports have fallen by 19.1% in the last decade.
Russia is the most important destination country, although Greece has lost significant market share there. The fact that in 2008 Greece’s market share in Russia was 25% and in 2017 fell to 2%, it should be a point of concern.
The main priority, therefore, should be to regain market share in Russia.
The industry needs a rethinking strategy that responds to new global developments.
Greece traditionally has a high export activity on cotton and has a high share of the world market (0.8%), with an export value for 2017 at 400 million.
However, during the period 2008-2017, the growth rate of Greek exports was just 1/8 of the growth rate of world exports (4.5% and 39.8% respectively).
Exports of cotton are mainly directed to low cost manufacturing countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others.
Special yarns, twine and ropes
They hold 0.58% of world exports, with an export value of 2017 € 129 million.
Export performance in this category appears to be satisfactory in recent years, as Greece has increased its penetration rate to 70% of the countries it exports (Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland).
Greece’s main competitors in this category are Italy, Spain and Belgium.
The metal industry is on a growing export track.
Greek copper exports hold 0.5% of the world market and the value of exports to copper for 2017 is EUR 599 million.
Over the last decade, copper exports saw a small increase of 5.4%, while world exports grew by 26.7%.
The main destination countries are Italy, Romania, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and France, while the main competitors on the copper market are Germany and Turkey.
The value of exports for the aluminum category in 2017 amounted to € 1.6 billion
Aluminum is the spearhead of metal exports and seems to have a strong competitive advantage.
The growth rate of Greek exports far exceeded the global (59.1% and 36.9% respectively), thus increasing the comparative advantage and market share for Greek aluminum.
The bulk of Greek aluminum ends in European countries where, in most of these markets, Greece has increased its penetration rate from 2008 to date.
Other competing products
Although the other product categories are not very competitive, there are some competing products that fall into these categories and are summarized below:
• Medicines are one of the products to which special attention should be paid, considering that there is an important pharmaceutical industry in Greece with a lot of room for growth and exports, mainly generic medicines. Greece exports large quantities of medicines, amounting to approximately € 860 million, classifying them as the third most exportable Greek product.
• Greece maintains high specialization and competitiveness in housing tiles and construction bricks.
• A comparative advantage also preserves marble, travertine and alabaster products, stone wool, prefabricated cement blocks and treated shale.
• Some other competing products are electricity meters, electric accumulators and high voltage power lines.
• Equally successful products in international markets are lifts and loaders with a market share of 1.2% and escalators with a market share of 1.4%.
• Greece also has significant specialization in non-electric water heaters and fishing boats.
• Finally, white paper, bobbins, coils, and similar paper supports also have a significant export presence.
As noted in the survey, “from the above mapping of Greek exports, it is obvious that Greece has an advantage in exporting mainly products from the primary production sector, losing exports of technology-intensive products. Since the majority of Greek exports do not concern products from the manufacturing sector, the added value derived from these exports is low “.
It is also underlined that: “Although the trade deficit narrowed, Greece is unable to increase its share of increasing world trade, maintaining its average rate at 0.18% on average. Regardless of the sectors that contribute significantly to export value, the Greek economy should focus on individual products and destinations, with the aim of maximizing added value “.