THE Prime Minster of Greece, Costas Karamanlis, addressed the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, promising to “exert all possible efforts to enhance bilateral economic and cultural relations with Qatar.”
Karamanlis is leading a delegation of some 90 Greek businessmen who are visiting Qatar to explore the business possibilities and opportunities, as well as promoting investment in Greece itself.
Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), HE Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani, welcomed the visiting delegation before offering them as much assistance as possible in their investigations of investment prospects here.
His speech was followed by Karamanlis who referred to the historically good relations between his country and the Arab world. He said that despite the recent substantial growth in economic ties between Qatar and Greece, the volume of trade between the two countries has not grown quite as well, and this is something he hopes his delegation’s visit to the country can improve.
He called Greece ‘the economic engine of South East Europe,’ and said that the country offers a “very healthy place to do business,” mentioning that a number of Qatari businessmen have already expressed interest in setting up in Greece.
“We also have to increase our presence here,” he argued, saying that “Qatar can be an excellent springboard for promoting Greek products and services in the Middle East.”
He referred to the global economic crisis, and the measures that his government has put in place to maintain the security of the Greek banking system.
The Greek vice-minister of external affairs, Petros Doukas, addressing the gathering, outlined the incentives for Qatari businessmen to invest in Greece.
“Our economy is worth some 250bn euros, and we have the strongest shipping market in the world,” he claimed, also mentioning that a representative from a Greek university was a part of the delegation, aiming to sign an agreement with Qatar Foundation during this visit.
A QCCI official then gave a presentation about the business environment and opportunities in Qatar, before the vice-president of Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, Athanassion Lavidas, and chairman of the Invest in Greece agency, Aristides Simeonoglou both gave speeches about improving business relations between Greece and Qatar.
The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to help achieve this objective, and gifts were exchanged between officials.
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