The Chairman of Greece-Qatar Business Council, Panagiotis Mihalos said that the level of bilateral ties and the attractive investment climate in Qatar and Greece pave the way towards more cooperation between the private sector businesses of the two economies.
Mihalos, during an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), added that cooperation between the two countries' private sector is set to improve thanks to the effort made by officials in that regard, highlighting that trade volume did not exceed $80m in 2018.
He said the Qatar-Greece Business Forum was held in Doha last week, organised by the Greece-Qatar Business Council in cooperation with Qatar Chamber and the attendance of the two countries Ministers of Foreign Affairs was the latest in the efforts of bolstering business ties. He added that around 40 Greek companies held talks with a 100 Qatari companies, exploring the prospects for cooperation in commerce and investments.
He also expected that the cooperation between the private sector in Qatar and Greece will be further enhanced in light of the political support and will to bring the business community closer. He stressed that the Greek-Qatari Business Council will make every effort to increase levels of trade and investment between the two countries.
Mihalos pointed to the efforts exerted by the Greek-Qatari Business Council to promote economic cooperation between the two countries and push forward economic diplomacy in parallel with political diplomacy, in order to deepen bilateral relations. He pointed out that the proposal to start the joint ministerial committee for economic cooperation between the two countries, maintaining the momentum generated by the exchange of official visits.
He also said that most of Qatari citizens he meets usually plan to visit Greece, especially with the direct flights that Qatar Airways have to Athens, Thessaloniki, and Mykonos.
The chairman of the council also discussed the efforts they are making in facilitating the process of having Greek companies participate in the State of Qatar's developmental projects. He noted that the council has organized visits for three Greek business delegations during the past 11 months alone. He said that a number of Greek construction companies began carrying out large infrastructure projects in the country. He added that companies in other sectors, such as food products, information technology, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and others could invest also.
He said that the success the State of Qatar had in turning the impacts of the blockade into economic gains is an experience worth examining and celebrating, adding that the State of Qatar is slowly becoming a business and trade hub for the region and Asia, in light of the success of Qatar Financial Center and Qatar Free Zones Authority.
Mihalos said Greece created a promising investment environment and has become more prepared to receive foreign investments after it has let go of many bureaucratic procedures and recovering from a severe economic crisis. Mihalos said the economic crisis affected only the government sector.
He added that the Greek economy is opening up promising prospects for investment as it returns to strong growth figures which offer opportunities that Qatari businessmen can seize, especially as the country emerges from an economic crisis that enhances the banks' need for liquidity which is reflected in low prices and easy investment.
He said the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector in Greece represents an encouraging opportunity for Qatari investors as the country's banking system suffers from lack of liquidity and its inability to provide the necessary funds to stimulate this sector, which is an opportunity for new investors. He added that it is an opportunity that will not be there in five years.
Mihalos said Qatar and Greece share many strengths, where Qatar strives to diversify its economy with safe and prosperous investments in various sectors around the world and allows foreign investors to 100 percent own companies, which is a good indicator of serious management to create a thriving and open economy.
He said that at the same time, Greece offers opportunities in various fields, including logistics, ports, energy, food production, agriculture, information technology and others. The country has also improved its economic infrastructure and has begun to emerge as a logistics center. In addition to the many opportunities in the energy sector as it is working on developing its natural gas capacity, in terms of increasing storage capacity and laying new pipelines across the country towards Italy and Central and Eastern Europe.