Executive Director and Board Member of Enterprise Greece, Betty Alexandropoulou, discussed the issues of trade and a double taxation agreement between Greece and Australia during the ‘Greek Australian Dialogue Series’ on Monday afternoon.
The conference was attended by over 50 people and was hosted by Katia Gkikiza, the Trade Commissioner of Greece in Australia and Paul Nicolaou, Director of the Business Leaders Council, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
‘Potential for further trade’:
Ms Gkikiza kicked off the digital talk by introducing Ms Alexandropoulou and outlining the growth in export trade between Greece and Australia in recent years.
“Last year, the year 2020, they [exports] surpassed 200 million euros for the first time. In fact, Greek exports to Australia grew by almost 7 percent last year despite the pandemic and this year, in the first six months for which we have data, Greek exports to Australia increased by a further 7.9 percent compared to the same period last year,” the Trade Commissioner of Greece in Australia said.
These statistics were later touched on by Ms Alexandropoulou who stressed that Enterprise Greece is working towards further digitalisation and the promotion of Greek products globally.
“At Enterprise Greece, we help our companies go global by tapping into the most promising markets and finding new business partners abroad,” Ms Alexandropoulou said.
“We strongly believe that the potential for further trade development between our two countries [Greece and Australia] is much bigger… if we consider other strong export sectors for Greece, such as industrial, consumer, technology and services.
“In this capacity, I would like to invite you all, as fellow diaspora Greeks, to stand alongside with us on this mission [of global growth].”
Double Taxation Agreement between Greece and Australia:
The issue of a non-existent double tax agreement between Greece and Australia was also on the agenda, with Ms Alexandropoulou explaining that such an agreement would be ‘an important step’ for both countries.
“I would like to mention the recent request by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria for a double taxation agreement between Australia and Greece,” Ms Alexandropoulou said.
“Such an agreement would be a positive step in increasing transactions of capital, goods, services and peoples moving between our two countries.
“Commercial and financial transactions in general between Greece and Australia will be facilitated with further stability and security. The possibility of such a double taxation agreement will contribute to the expansion of mutually beneficial synergies.”
Ms Gkikiza confirmed to The Greek Herald earlier this month that moves towards a double taxation agreement are being “coordinated” between Greece, the European Union and the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of Greece in Australia, and “there have been positive developments.”
Greece’s ‘brain drain’:
One of the final topics touched on by Ms Alexandropoulou was the issue of ‘brain drain’ in Greece, whereby many talented Greek people migrated during the economic crisis in search of better jobs and quality of life.
Ms Alexandropoulou said Enterprise Greece and the Greek Government are ‘trying to address’ brain drain in three ways: (1) by creating a robust environment in which somebody is comfortable to return to, (2) creating a good job environment, and (3) taxation adjustments.
“This is a long process. It’s not something that happens over one year, but it’s something that we see that there are Greeks returning,” Ms Alexandropoulou said.
“But we love having Greeks everywhere around the world as well. I think it’s one of the biggest communities that is basically widespread around the world and it’s one of the advantages when we’re talking about investments to some of the companies.”