Greece Trade and Foreign Investment

By | July 23, 2022


  • Business Relationships
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FTAs ​​and Treaties
  • Development Cooperation
  • Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Business relations

Trade relations with the EU

Greece trades primarily within the EU, from where roughly 57% of imports came from until 2020 and 57% of exports went there. The increase in the prices of energy imported from third countries in 2021 slightly changed this ratio. Exports to the EU represented 54% and imports from the EU 51%. The largest imports came from Germany (11.1%) and Italy (8.7%), and exports went to Italy (9.9%) and Germany (7.3%). The negative balance reflects Greece’s overall dependence on imports.

  • Allcountrylist: Overview of major industries in Greece, including mining, construction, transportation, tourism, and foreign trade.
2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the EU (billion EUR) 14.38 16.48 17.75 17.70 21.43
Imports into the EU (billion EUR) 25.00 27.09 28.57 27.97 32.86
Balance with the EU (billion EUR) -10.62 -10.61 -10.82 -10.27 -11.43

Source: European Commission, ELSTAT

Trade relations with the Czech Republic

The balance of mutual trade has been significantly positive for the Czech Republic in the long term. In 2021, after a temporary decline in mutual trade in the pandemic year 2020, there was a significant recovery and increase not only in a year-on-year comparison, but also in relation to the level before the pandemic. The turnover of mutual trade increased year-on-year by almost 10% and the surplus by CZK billion.

Exports managed to revive in all commodity groups and in value significantly exceeded the best year of 2019 so far. Machinery and means of transport remain the most important commodity group, representing almost half of our exports, but despite the year-on-year increase, their exports did not reach the pre-pandemic level. Road vehicles, our strongest export, lost over 16% compared to 2019. A substantial increase was recorded in the 2nd most important commodity group, chemicals, in which the export of medicines and pharmaceutical products is growing. Imports have been growing for a long time and have maintained this trend even during the pandemic. The most significant increase was in chemicals and market products. The most important import commodities were medicines and pharmaceutical products, aluminum and copper (20% of imports), fruits and vegetables.

The mutual balance of payments was positive for the Czech Republic in 2021 with a surplus of CZK billion. The surplus in the balance of goods trade (+CZK 4.0 billion) and incomes (CZK 0.2 billion) offset the traditional deficit in the balance of services related to the negative balance of the tourism industry (CZK -billion).

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 6.24 10.91 11.81 11.32 12.92
Imports to the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 9.08 6.24 7.38 7.69 7.91
Balance with the Czech Republic (billion CZK) -2.84 -4.67 -4.43 -3.63 -5.01

Source: CZSO

Trade relations with countries outside the EU

In 2021, exports to countries outside the EU represented 46% and imports 49%. The largest imports came from China (7.8%) and Russia (6.7%), and exports went to Turkey (5.2%) and the USA (4.0%).

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from non-EU countries (billion EUR) 14.49 16.99 16,12 13.10 18.47
Imports to non-EU countries (billion EUR) 22.35 27.08 27.16 20.98 31,33
Balance with non-EU countries (billion EUR) -7.86 -10.04 -11.04 -7.88 -12.86

Source: EIU, Eurostat, ELSTAT

Foreign direct investment

In 2021, foreign direct investment increased significantly by 72% year-on-year and almost equaled its pre-pandemic level (2021: EUR 4,846 million, 2020: EUR 2,813 million, 2019: EUR 4,484 million). Services accounted for 67% (EUR 3,227 million) and the most attractive for investment were real estate (EUR 1,233 million), financial and insurance services (EUR 571 million), trade (EUR 430 million) and telecommunications & media (EUR 334 million).). 11% (EUR 521 million) and 7% (EUR 392 million) were invested in the manufacturing industry. The largest foreign investors from the EU countries were Luxembourg (EUR 919 million), Germany (EUR 413 million) and Cyprus (EUR 318 million), from the 3rd countries Great Britain (EUR 571 million), Turkey (EUR 460 million ) and the USA (EUR 413 million).

At the beginning of 2022, a new incentive law entitled “Pro-Growth Law – Greece: Strong Growth” was approved, which brings tools to support investments in particular in the digital, technological and “green” transformation of the economy, in strengthening competitiveness in sectors with high added value, in applied research and innovation, but also to the development of disadvantaged areas, for example in connection with decarbonisation. Both domestic and foreign investors can use the incentive. The law will also be an important tool in the financing of projects implemented as part of the “Hellas 2.0” plan (see chapter 2.1). Despite the government’s measures aimed at removing bureaucratic obstacles, the approval of investments remains a protracted procedure. The state agency Enterprise Greece provides assistance to foreign investors.

Foreign direct investments from the Czech Republic almost tripled year-on-year in 2021 (2021: EUR 78 million, 2020: EUR 20 million). The most important Czech investor is the investment group KKCG AG, which in February 2022, through its multinational company Allwyn Entertainment (formerly SAZKA Entertainment), increased its stake in the Greek betting concern OPAP from 4to 48.1%. This is an investment with a total value of around EUR 1 billion.

Source of information: Central Bank of Greece.

FTAs and treaties

Treaties with the EU

Greece is a member of the EU and harmonizes its legislation in accordance with EU law.

Contracts with the Czech Republic

Bilateral treaties with Czechoslovakia are taken over by the Czech Republic after its division. Since the Czech Republic joined the EU, most economic issues have been regulated by the rules for the functioning of the common EU market.

Main contracts:

  • Agreement on the Settlement of Financial Questions between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Kingdom of Greece (1964)
  • Agreement between the Governments of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Hellenic Republic on International Road Transport (1977) and Protocol (1992)
  • Long-term program for the development of economic, industrial and technical cooperation between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Hellenic Republic (1984)
  • Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Hellenic Republic (1984) and Protocol (1993)
  • Treaty between the governments of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Republic of Greece on the prevention of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion in the field of income tax (No. 98/1989 Coll.)
  • Agreement between the governments of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republics and the Republic of Greece on cooperation and mutual assistance between the customs administrations of the two states (No. 228/1996 Coll.)
  • Agreement between the governments of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republics and the Republic of Greece on the support and mutual protection of investments (No. 102/1993 Coll.)
  • Agreement between the governments of the Czech Republic and the Hellenic Republic on economic, industrial and technical cooperation (No. 60/2002 Coll. ms)
  • Agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Hellenic Republic on economic, scientific and technical cooperation in the field of agriculture (No. 90/2004 Coll. ms)
  • Agreement between the governments of the Czech Republic and the Hellenic Republic on cooperation in the field of tourism (2006) Any FTA and bilateral or other agreements, list the important contractual bases and comment on the most important ones and describe what this means for mutual trade.

Developmental cooperation

Greece is a provider of foreign development cooperation. In 2020 (latest available data), it provided USD 325.44 million (0.17% of GDP), of which USD 84.78 million was bilateral and USD 240.67 was multilateral aid. Compared to 2019, this is a decrease of USD 4million.

Due to the high number of refugees on the territory of Greece, roughly 90% of funds from bilateral aid go to local migration facilities.

Source of information: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece

Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Due to the lack of domestic financial resources and the tying of loans and subsidies from the Reconstruction Fund to the injection of own capital, the next period will be an opportunity mainly for exports with an investment share. Standard sales of goods will probably be temporarily depressed. There is potential for further growth in the traditional base of Czech exports, which is machinery and means of transport. As for means of transport, there will be interest mainly in hybrid or electric vehicles. With regard to the priorities of the Greek recovery plan “Hellas 2.0” (see chapter 2.1) and the necessary changes to the energy mix, investment opportunities can be expected especially in energy (RES), digitization and ICT, the defense industry, the green economy with an emphasis on the water management and waste industries, healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. The potential exists for a long time in the combined transport and shipbuilding industry.

Energy industry

Due to the declared intention to reduce the country’s dependence on lignite, emphasis is placed on supporting the production of energy from renewable sources. Small solar and hydropower plants are experiencing a revival, technologies for accumulating the produced energy have a great perspective. The importance of LNG infrastructure development is growing. Power grids are being developed.


Equipment for telecommunications and IT is gaining a significant position in Czech exports to Greece. Exports of machines for automatic data processing, monitors, memory devices and optical fibers are growing. The pandemic has strengthened the importance of digitization, IT and telecommunications and created space for increased exports of these commodities. The development of digitization is one of the pillars of the national Plan to support recovery and resilience “Hellas 2.0” financed by the Recovery Fund.

Defense industry

Both the Greek Civil Defense and the Army are investing in extensive modernization of equipment and armaments. In addition to new combat and firefighting aircraft and frigates, modernization of equipment such as special vehicles, drones, fire and defense technologies, as well as means of electronic defense and combat is being prepared.


Services are at the heart of the Greek economy. The main role is played by fields related to tourism. Their further development presupposes the construction and reconstruction of hotels and other accommodation facilities, restaurants and cafes. This creates space for the application of designer and price-interesting consumer products, hotel glass and porcelain. New forms of tourism open up space for additional equipment. The potential for exports and investments can also be seen in transport.

Water management and waste industry

The Greek government supports modern ecological solutions and wants to develop a cyclical model of waste management. Technologies for processing recycled material, reclamation of old and construction of new landfills have potential. Projects aimed at improving water management, such as biological purification and desalination, also represent an opportunity.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical industry

The need to renew equipment and expand the capacities of state and private medical facilities will be an opportunity for the export of modern medical technology and rehabilitation aids. The strong Greek pharmaceutical industry offers the potential for collaboration in research and co-production of medicines. The pandemic has created space for the application of new solutions, such as nanotechnology.

Greece Trade