US Ambassador Says Investors Now Keen on Greece

The National Herald

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt.(Photo by Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, bolstering Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' push to bring in more foreign investors to speed recovery from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis said United States businesses are eager to put money in.

Speaking at an event of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens, Pyatt said that more American investments are expected this year with the New Democracy going after them after saying the former ruling anti-business Radical Left SYRIZA drove them away.

“I’m optimistic that 2020 is going to bring significant American investment and big ticket projects like the privatization of key ports, starting with Alexandroupoli and Volos, as well as other energy and tourism infrastructure projects including Hellenikon, one of the biggest American investments ever to come to Greece, and of course, to continue building on our fantastic success of ONEX’s project in Syros to see the revival of the shipyard at Elefsina,” he said, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.

“We are very committed to building on the positive investment announcements from Pfizer, Cisco, Deloitte and further growth of the American corporate presence in northern Greece,” he added, rattling off a list of major corporations in pharmaceuticals, accounting and technology.

Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis said American companies want to join others that are encouraged by signs of recovery after the end of three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($359.76 billion) in 2018, although no full market return has yet been made.

Georgiadis said a major US renewable energy companies will open an office in Athens in two weeks and plans to invest half a billion dollars in Greece by 2020 with the country having a solid reputation for high-level technological skills, especially among the young who didn't flee the country during the crisis, but stayed home. He also noted a vote by the US Congress in late 2019 for Greece's inclusion in the countries funded by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC.) "This means that US companies that want to invest in Greece can secure equity and guarantees in order to have lower interest rates on the financing of their investments in our country," he said.

Mitsotakis has moved fast to try to start major projects stymied under SYRIZA's 4 1/2-year reign that ended in defeat to the Conservatives in July 7, 2019 snap elections, with the new government pushing the long-stalled 8-billion euro ($8.83 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport as well as giving the green light to a modified 600-million-euro ($662.13 million) renovation of the port of Piraeus to the Chinese company COSCO which operates it.