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Coronavirus

US Investors Cast Post COVID-19 Eye on Greece

April 26, 2020

It would be a big boost to an economy contracting during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic: American investors are seen eager to jump into Greece again after a lockdown aimed at prevent the spread of the virus is lifted.

That was the view of That was an online round-table discussion organized by US think tank the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), which focused on investment prospects and opportunities opening in Greece, said Kathimerini.

The teleconference meeting included nearly 30 American companies, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis, a welcome topic to a country that was beginning to accelerate a slow recovery from a near-decade long economic and austerity crisis when the virus hit.

The lockdown worked to hold down the number of cases and deaths but has shuttered non-essential businesses since March 23 with a lifting going to be gradual and staggered, likely beginning May 4.

But tourism, the country’s biggest revenue engine, has fallen off a cliff and could fall as much as 52-70 percent although the hotel sector hopes to reopen in July and try to convince people to come.

Fragogiannis told the audience, which included major American companies and investors that the New Democracy government which been courting them, was handling COVID-19 well.

The firms included those active in the fields of energy, property, tourism and financial services, key elements needed to propel the economy again after it shrank 25 percent during the austerity years and was set for growth of 2-3 percent.

Now, it could shrink as much as 10 percent and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is seen essential, along with starting long-delayed major projects such as the 8-billion euro ($8.66 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport.

With every crisis comes and opportunity is a mantra for those with money and the audience was told the government wants to hit the ground running with investments to bring back the economy, which would let them cash in too.
The emphasis would be on innovative startups in sectors such as the digital economy, renewable energy sources and services.

Pyatt tweeted that, the “excellent US-Greece trade and commercial cooperation and the many opportunities for growing two-way investment in key sectors. As Greece emerges from the immediate COVID-19 crisis, economic ties are at the forefront of our agenda.”

Greece’s expectations for attracting significant US investment capital are focused on sectors such as privatizations, energy, technology, property, defense and portfolio holdings, the paper said.

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