"Almost a year in the Trade & Cooperation Agreement: Opportunities and Challenges in the Food & Drink Industry “
Joint Event of the British Embassy and the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
Athens, Thursday 16 December 2021. The hybrid event of the British Embassy in Athens and the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce titled: "Almost a year in the Trade & Cooperation: Opportunities and Challenges in the Food & Drink Industry” was held with great success on Wednesday 15 December.
The event took place at the British Residence, in the presence of the British Ambassador Mr Matthew Lodge and with the support of the Panhellenic Exporters Association (ΠΣΕ) and the Association of Exporters (ΣΕΒΕ).
Experts from the British Embassy in Athens, the British Ministry of International Trade, the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food, shared their know-how and best practices with Greek companies which operate commercially with the United Kingdom.
Mr Matthew Lodge, the British Ambassador, at his opening speech stated: "Trade relations between Greece and the UK have traditionally been strong and remain so, with the total trade of goods and services amounting to £4.5 billion annually (according to the latest data published by the UK Department for International Trade, for the 2nd quarter of 2021). The Food & Beverages sector in particular includes a number of well-known and popular Greek products exported to the UK market. We recognise that the UK’s trade relations with the European Union have been impacted as a result both of the pandemic and of Brexit, affecting in turn activity in this business sector. That said, it is encouraging that there are successful Greek companies - both importers and exporters - that have adapted swiftly and effectively to the new arrangements. Initiatives like today’s event are designed to share information and know-how and exchange best practice in support of stronger trade relations between our two countries.”
In his speech, Mr Spilios Livanos, Minister of Rural Development and Food, said, among other things, “Trade relations between Greece and the UK have traditionally focused on sectors such as shipping, tourism and financial services. The Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food aims to strengthen existing trade ties between Greece and the UK in the Food and Beverages sector by focusing on the quality of the end product that reaches our customers, and by promoting the ‘Greek Diet’ brand – a brand that sophisticated consumers in the UK are already familiar with. The UK is the fifth biggest economy in the world and a very democratic one, and I am positive that along with the European Union we will develop a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship for the future".
The event hosted two panels of discussion as well as a presentation by the British Ministry of International Trade.
At the first panel of the event entitled: "UK import controls & new proposed timeline: How do exporters need to prepare?" coordinator was Ms Evita Souri, Trade Policy Advisor at the British Embassy. Important statements were made by the officials of the British Cabinet Office and the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food focusing on the new procedures that will be gradually applied to imports into the UK from January 2022. An extensive reference was made to the new customs procedures and the certificates needed to accompany products of plant and animal origin entering the United Kingdom from 1 July onwards.
The 2nd panel of the event entitled "Key challenges & Opportunities for the food & drink business trading with the UK", was coordinated by Ms Anna Kalliani, Greek President of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. In the framework of a productive dialogue with high-ranking executives of important Greek companies operating in the UK and a representative of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their views and proposals were presented, highlighting the important prospects for boosting exports from our country to the UK and the challenges posed by rising costs and time delays due to Brexit and the aftermath of the pandemic. Participants also referred to the ever-changing British consumer habits. Ms Kalliani stressed the need to formulate a strategic approach to strengthen the Greek brand name in the UK, which will contribute to the effort of extroverted companies and announced the Chamber's support of the participation of Greek food & beverage companies in the three largest exhibitions in the industry to be held in the United Kingdom in 2022.
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Mr Spilios Livanos, Minister of Rural Development and Food and H.E. Mr Matthew Lodge, the British Ambassador in Athens
Mr Sotiris Leontaris, Director Greece, DIT, British Embassy in Athens
Ms Anna Kalliani, Greek President of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce