Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.
Greece maintains nationality restrictions on several professional and business services, including legal advice. These restrictions do not apply to EU citizens, and U.S. companies avoid these barriers by partnering with Greek or EU businesses.
Pharmaceutical industry stakeholders face policies such as clawbacks and arrears, which create a challenging business environment. The 2022 figures for clawback were over 1.5 billion euros, and public spending by the Greek Government in healthcare continues to decrease despite healthcare costs consistently increasing. In 2020, the Ministry of Health acknowledged that the nation had disproportionately high levels of clawback and committed to targeted reductions by 2025. The system discourages entry of innovative products and drastically cuts into operating revenues. While industry hopes for change, further discussions on sustainable and meaningful reform will be necessary.
The general position towards GE (Genetically Engineered) crops in Greece remains unfavorable. Greece does not have a coexistence policy and maintains a de facto ban on both the cultivation and importation of GE products. In Greece, there are no GE plants or crops under development. Greece does not commercially cultivate any GE crops, even for GE seed production. Greece has maintained a de facto ban on GE products since April 2005, when it implemented a “safeguard clause” prohibiting the field release of MON 810. Greece is in the process of adopting new legislation that will incorporate EU Directive 2015/412 to officially implement the cultivation opt-out clause. The draft legislation passed the public comment period in 2016 and is still awaiting governmental action. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Rome has Greece under their jurisdiction and can provide further information. U.S. Department of Agriculture GAIN Reports provide a detailed analysis of the Greek agri-food market.
Tax Rate Related Issues
On March 21, 2015, the Greek Parliament passed a law (No 4321/2015) to prevent triangular trade transactions with third countries that have lower taxes than Greece (i.e., Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Ireland). According to Article 21 of the new law, a company which imports goods into Greece from another country with a lower tax rate must prepay the 26% withholding tax. To secure a refund, the entity has three months to demonstrate the transaction was made on market terms and is not triangular (not an exchange between corporate partners exploiting the tax rate differential between the countries). U.S. firms with collaborators and/or offices in third countries with lower taxes than Greece should note this law.
The Greek Federation of Enterprises believes this potentially bureaucratic process is likely to adversely affect the agricultural sector, particularly small and medium sized enterprises as well as transportation and logistical service providers.