Greece - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2022-07-27
  • Stiff competition from Greece’s traditional EU/post EU trading partners — Italy, Germany, France, the U.K., and the Netherlands.
  • EU suppliers have duty-free status and proximity to the Greek market (lower transportation costs and faster service).  Additionally, many projects are financed by EU loans, and must be awarded to entities based in the EU.
  • Competition in many industry sectors in Greece can be characterized as oligopolistic, making it difficult for new entrants to penetrate the market.
  • Eurostat ranks Greece low on its Payment Index, meaning that the risk of non or delayed payment is high, especially for public sector contracts.
  • According to the OECD, Greece has one of the more restrictive business environments as it pertains to inward investment. Business is heavily regulated.
  • The public sector share of GDP exceeds 40%. Public procurement is consequently an important feature of the commercial landscape. The Government of Greece prefers, and often requires, foreign bidders to partner with Greek companies.
  • Businesses face frequent changes to the tax and regulatory environment.
  • Greece is a signatory to the OECD Anti-bribery Convention. On Transparency International’s respected Annual Perception of Corruption Index for 2021, Greece ranked 58 out of 180 countries surveyed.
  • Historically, U.S. exporters and investors have faced relatively low barriers to doing business in the EU.  Nonetheless, issues exist, as would be expected, given the breadth and depth of the commercial relationship.
  • While the EU continues to move in the direction of a Single Market, the reality today is that U.S. exporters in some sectors continue to face some barriers to entry and other challenges. In several industries such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, legal services, and government procurement, some of these barriers are pronounced in some member states.
  • EU legislation generally takes two forms. “Regulations” have mandatory language and are directly applicable in member states when implemented. “Directives” provide a general framework and must be “transposed” into national legislation at the member state level. Differences in how directives are transposed in Greece and other member states complicate compliance for U.S. companies doing business in the EU. Industry has periodically raised concerns over perceived onerous regulations and high compliance costs.