31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
May 18, 2022 / 09:09

Greece wants to be transshipment hub for Vietnam goods to EU

Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa, connecting important global trade routes.

Greece hopes to expand trading relations with Vietnam after the ongoing visit paid by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou welcomed in Hanoi on May 16. Photos: The World and Vietnam   

The Hellenic Republic expects to be a gate for Vietnamese goods to the European Union (EU) harnessing the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), according to Greek Ambassador to Vietnam Georgios Stilianopoulos, noting that Greece is one of the first countries ratifying the partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) and approved the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Its geography allows Greece to connect to Europe, the Middle East, and the Black Sea, Stilianopoulos said, stressing that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a surge in demand for flexible supply chains.

Being an EU member located at the juncture of the Mediterranean, Balkans, Southwestern Europe and Asia, Greece has geographic advantages and developed transport infrastructure, as well as qualified human resources to boost trade links in and outside Europe, the ambassador said in an interview with the World and Vietnam Report.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, with a population of nearly 100 million and a fast-growing economy, appears to be a rising star in Southeast Asia that helps bring about chances for further trade and investment, he added.

Strengthening trade ties is part of the Greek president’s agenda on her five-day visit to Vietnam, the second visit paid by a Greek president after the first 14 years ago.

The economic ties will cover trade, investment, culture, and tourism, the ambassador said in an interview with the World and Vietnam Report, adding that the economic connectivity should be enhanced both bilaterally and multilaterally to boost economic recovery for both countries.

Accordingly, the president will visit Ho Chi Minh City, the business and industrial hub of Vietnam.

Stilianopoulos said as two-way trade remains modest, the two countries have inked a number of important economic agreements to boost it.

The ambassador said the two sides should focus on potential sectors namely agricultural products, food industry, maritime transport services, pharmaceutical industry, and energy.

He argued that Greece, thanks to its climate and geography, produces high-quality raw materials with high nutritional values, which are the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Meanwhile, the Greeks maintain the traditional methods of food production and processing along with modern ones. In addition, Greece has been a nation of maritime commerce since ancient times and today possesses the largest merchant fleet in the world. Shipping is a major contributor to the economy. The pharmaceutical industry is receiving significant investment while Greece has a high level of expertise and experience in renewables, such as solar systems and waste recycling.

As both countries have opened their borders to international visitors, Vietnam and Greece are taking advantage of tourism, which is the strength of each country. For that reason, cooperation in tourism should be boosted based on an agreement on tourism signed in 2007, the ambassador said.

The visit is expected to give further impetus to bilateral relations, and lead to more high-level talks.

 Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou. 

Talks between Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Katerina Sakellaropoulos were described as open, sincere, and constructive, and the two leaders said the two countries have enjoyed harmonious relations since they launched their diplomatic relations in 1975.

President Phuc said Sakellaropoulou’s visit signals a new phase in the friendship and collaboration of the two peoples.

He said Vietnam, as an active and responsible member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), always supports the strengthening of relations between ASEAN and the European Union, and between ASEAN members and Greece while adding the importance of respecting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

At the meeting, Phuc also expected Greece's efforts to help the EU remove the "yellow card" imposed on Vietnam’s seafood exports for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Vietnamese president also thanked his Greek counterpart for the 250,000 coronavirus vaccines sent to the country in November 2021, an aid that Sakellaropoulou told him was “a gesture of solidarity to the people of Vietnam.”

Sakellaropoulou laid a wreath at the Heroes and Martyrs Monument, visited Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, visited the Temple of Literature, and paid a courtesy visit to General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

 The two sides discuss methods to promote cooperation in the future.