Russian markets to open for Greek wines

Greek wines will be the next in a series of Greek products that have broken into the Russian export market, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis said on Wednesday. “The Russian market is opening to Greek wines,” he said after a meeting with visiting Russian Agriculture Minister Aleksey Gordeyev in Athens.

The meeting was also attended by Greek wine makers and officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, economy, development on both sides, as well as representatives of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO).

The meeting was held one day before the arrival of Russian premier Mikhail Fradkov in Athens and sought to assess the results of the work done over the past year, since the visit to Russia by the largest business delegation ever sent by Greece in September 2005, in which 170 Greek businesses were represented.

Greek exports to Russia rose 24 percent in the first half of 2006, officials reported, while tourism from Russia is estimated to have increased 100 percent after the summer, after increasing by 41.8 percent in the first half of 2006. Investments are also increasing rapidly in both Russia and Greece, led by the energy sector and the imminent construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

As a first step in the bid to break into the Russian wine market, HEPO announced an event to promote Greek medium and high-quality wines in Moscow on November 28-29, with the participation of 20-25 wine-making companies.

Stylianidis expressed satisfaction with the progress made over the past year to Gordeyev, stressing that Greece and Russia were building up “strong economic cooperation”, while the Russian minister noted that the two countries had succeeded in “changing the development of their economic relations in a positive direction” and to build up ever increasing trust in each other.

The meeting between Fradkov and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday would confirm the excellent climate in their relations and give a new boost for reaching their targets, Stylianidis added.

The Greek minister also expressed conviction that outstanding problems between Greece and Russia would be led to resolution, such as the agreement in April for Russian overdue debts to Greece that would be finally settled during the Russian premier’s visit, or the solution of problems faced by Greek companies based in Russia, among them Karelias, Hellascom and Chipita.

Other issues addressed by Stylianidis were plans initiated at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation to construct a ring road dubbed the ‘Road of the Argonauts’ that will circle the Black Sea, beginning and end in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis – a project proposed by Greece and agreed on at a BSEC transport ministers’ meeting with Russia in the chair.

He pointed out that such a road would coincide with an electric power ring described by Russian President Vladimir Putin and, in conjunction with the pipeline network, will create a unified and strong Black Sea market that will boost trade and tourism.
    ANA-MPA file

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