“2015 was a year filled with quite a few challenges and uncertainty here in Greece. Throughout all of it, the U.S. has been Greece’s steadfast friend. This will not change.,” said Consul General Fong during her remarks at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce “Pita Cutting” celebration on February 1; an event honoring an old Greek tradition and celebrating U.S. – Greek business partnerships. Consul General Fong stressed to more than 250 guests – including the Regional Governor, the Mayor, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the business community and young entrepreneurs – that Greece needs to adopt strategies to attract and retain foreign companies. It needs to treat investors and businesses as partners, creating an environment in which they can succeed.
CG Fong emphasized the need to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and invited everyone to the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE Industrial Trade Fair – the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology – of which the U.S. has been named the official Partner Country.
Remarks by Consul General Rebecca A. Fong
The MET Hotel
February 1, 2016
Αξιότιμες κυρίες και κύριοι καλησπέρα σας και καλή χρονιά!
Σας ευχαριστώ θερμά για την πρόσκληση που μου κάνατε να παραστώ στην ετήσια κοπή της πίτας σας. Είναι μεγάλη μου τιμή να είμαι εδώ μαζί σας!
As a Chinese-American, my traditional New Year’s celebration involves cleaning the house – completely. So I am extremely honored and relieved that your New Year’s tradition is not cleaning your house but cutting the Vasilopita!
I am grateful to be included in this wonderful tradition. Traditions like this provide an opportunity to come together and emphasize our shared aspirations for a life of filled with prosperity and happiness.
2015 was a year filled with quite a few challenges and uncertainty here in Greece. Throughout all of it, the U.S. has been Greece’s steadfast friend. This will not change. 2016 has started off well. What I see as a boost in business confidence, is that Greece’s stock market rose 3 and a half percent this week and that Standard & Poors raised Greece’s sovereign rating.
But the fact remains that we all need to work on political stability, increased security, and returning the country to economic growth and job creation. With this in mind, Greece needs to adopt strategies to attract and retain foreign companies. It needs to treat investors and businesses as partners, creating an environment in which they can succeed.
I believe this is crucial, because it is the private sector that will create new jobs and eventually reduce Greece’s high unemployment rate. Of course, there are many U.S. affiliated companies in this room that already contribute substantially to the Greek economy and we want to build on those successes.
We want to see more companies investing in Greece like Oracle that just opened a new software center in Athens; like Kinems – Boston-based special education games maker that also opened in Athens in 2015; like the Paulson Fund that invested in the Piraeus Bank recapitalization; and like Oaktree Capital that invested in Ikos hotels in Chalkidiki.
I can’t emphasize enough that we all need to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Because small businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are still major exporters. Greece can benefit from more efficient border procedures, streamlined shipping requirements, and easier access to the U.S. market.
Ambassador Pearce told me on our recent trip to Kastoria, that business opportunities, the kind that Greece needs will be discussed at the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE