ATHENS – US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said the new New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is chasing investors scared off by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, is tightening ties between the countries as well.
Greece is making “great strides towards creating a more welcoming business climate for investors and entrepreneurs,” praising Mitsotakis’ administration for “exceeding expectations” and doing “a tremendous amount of work to advance the reform agenda,” the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) reported.
Greece’s progress “is helping to grow our trade relationship,” Pyatt told the 4th annual ExportUSA Forum, adding that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Greece in early October “reinforced” this notion.
.@USAmbPyatt at @AmChamGr Export Forum: Greece’s gov is moving fast on long hoped for reforms, helping grow bilateral trade between our countries. During #StrategicDialogue, we committed to help Greek companies capture opportunities in U.S. market, benefiting both our countries. pic.twitter.com/J0RXt8IQIz
— U.S. Embassy Athens (@USEmbassyAthens) November 4, 2019
“We consider Greece to be an important economic partner, not just on its own terms, but also as a gateway to the Western Balkans and Southeastern Europe,” he added. “I am certain that our trade and investment relationship will continue to grow and deepen in the years ahead,” Pyatt said in his closing remarks.
American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce President Nikolaos Bakatselos also lauded the Strategic Dialogue between Athens and Washington as allowing Greek-US relations to “gain momentum” although they had gotten closer, ironically, with SYRIZA after then-Premier Alexis Tsipras reversed strong anti-American sentiments
Bakatselos said Greek exports to the US increased by 7.17 percent in the first half of 2019, hitting 673.06 million euros ($748.13 million) and he estimated that figures can improve even more with broader business plans, more targeting and deeper specialization. Direct US investments in Greece surpassed 1.2 billion euros ($1.33 billion) in 2018, up 16 percent from 2017, Bakatselos also said.