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flag Greece Greece: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Non Tariff Barriers
In accordance with its European Union membership, Greece applies the European Union (EU) rules that are in force in all European Union countries. While the EU has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, there is a certain number of restrictions, especially on farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): the application of compensations on import and export of farm products, aimed at favoring the development of agriculture within the EU, implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for the goods entering the EU territory.
Greece maintains nationality restrictions on a number of professional and business services, including legal advice. These restrictions do not apply to EU citizens. Visit this website for more information on trade barriers
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Following Greece’s entry into the EU, cross border trading is no longer subject to strict controls. Transactions between residents of EU member states are not considered imports or exports and therefore they are not charged any duty. Sales to purchasers registered for VAT in EU member states are not subject to VAT in Greece provided that there are the VAT registration numbers of the supplier and purchaser on the invoice.

Customs Classification
In order to get exhaustive regulations and custom tariffs rates regarding their products, exporters shall refer to the TARIC code and its database, which includes all applicable customs duties and all customs trade policy measures for all the goods.
Import Procedures
For goods of a value under 1,000 kg or 1,000 EUR, a verbal declaration at Customs, and presenting the invoice, is sufficient.
For higher values, you must deposit at the Customs office:
1) a brief declaration (air or maritime manifest) to conclude the collection of the goods.
2) a common law declaration (SAD, single administrative document), as well as the accompanying documents to allow their clearance.
The SAD form can be obtained from Chambers of Commerce or an approved printer. A computerized Customs clearance platform (SOFI: International freight computer system) can be accessed in Customs offices or in some Chambers of Commerce.

In the case of deliveries and purchases within the European Community, the declaration of exchange of goods (DEB) or Intrastat declaration must be sent to the Customs service.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

Since July 1, 2009, all companies established outside of the EU are required to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they wish to lodge a customs declaration or an Entry/Exit Summary declaration.

Importing Samples
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA (Temporary Admission) book can be used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold.
For Further Information
Greek Customs Office
UE Customs and Taxation Union Directorate (TAXUD)
Ministry of Economy and Finance

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Greece on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Greece adopted the euro as its new common currency in January 2002. The adoption of the euro provided Greece (formerly a high inflation risk country under the drachma) with access to competitive loan rates and also to low rates of the Eurobond market. This led to a dramatic increase in consumer spending which gave a significant boost to economic growth. Since 2008, Greece has experimented a deep economical crisis. Now, consumers have little money to spend on non-essential goods and services and banks are very selective in the extention of a  credit.
Consumers Associations
BIOZO , Hellenic Consumers’ Association
Main Advertising Agencies

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
Distribution is a major sector of Greece's economy. In 2010, the Greek retail market was worth 54.3 billion EUR. Commercial establishments represented 45% of companies in the secondary and tertiary sector.

In 2009 and 2010 many small shops have closed because they could not cope with falling demand and rising consumer prices. As a result, department stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets are becoming key components of industry retail sales in Greece, particularly in the context of the economic recession which is currently affecting the country.
Market Shares
Traditional distribution networks- small sized independent merchants serviced by regional wholesalers, continue to be widespread. In 2003, they were approximately 300,000 in number. However, more modern distribution networks have now sprung up and the leaders in food distribution in Greece are now large groups:
- the largest is the group Marinopoulos (20% owned by Carrefour) which had a turnover of 1.458 billion Euros in 2003.
- Followed by the group Delhaize-Alpha Vita Vassilopoulos with a turnover of 901.6 million Euros in 2003.
The other visible trend is the development of discount supermarkets. Thus, the German hard discount group Lidl recently set up in Greece. Mostly discount supermarkets like Makro (in Greek) and Baazar Discount are found here. However, the discount market remains relatively small in size as it represented only 6% of the food distribution market in 2004.

Until 2000, the non-food distribution market was mainly dominated by national groups but the trend has completely changed since then : international groups have started making investments. Thus, the British group Currys (specialized in electrical home appliances) took over Kotsovolos, Fnac has set up in Athens in 2006 (commercial center The Mall Athens) and Ikéa opened its first store in 2001.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Greece has approximately 40,000 kilometers of roads. Of them, 31,000 kilometers are part of the regional network, while the remaining 9,000 constitute the main road network. Greece has currently embarked on a massive program of public works, which are co-funded by the EU. The Patras-Thessaloniki highway, which will extend to the Bulgarian border, as well as the Egnatia highway from Igoumenitsa to Alexandroupoli, are good examples of the scope of the public works. Road transport is used for a significant proportion of the goods transported domestically.

Greece has 2,500 kilometers of railway on two main routes: Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Corinth-Patras-Kalamata. The state-owned Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) controls the railways and has begun a gradual program of modernizing and expanding the existing network in cooperation with the EU. Rail transport accounts for 4% of passenger traffic and 1% of the freight transported only. 
Piraeus Port Authority
Thessaloniki Port Authority
Athens International Airport
Thessaloniki Airport
Sea Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications
Air Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining and petroleum.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Exportgate - Greek Exporters Directory. - Suppliers of Greek food and beverage specialties.
Panhellenic Exporters Association - Greek Exporters Database.
Evresi - Greek business directory. - Business directory for Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.
Seve - Exporters catalogue, provided by the Greek International Business Association. - Directory of companies in Greece.
Yellow Pages - Find a business in Greece.
Yellow Pages - Greece's Yellow Pages.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
19 professional associations listed for Greece.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Athens
Maritime Chamber of Greece
Enterprises Federation
Hellenic Federation of Enterprises

Learn more about Service Providers in Greece on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Learn more about Sales in Greece on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015