Gov’t lis­tens to firms’ de­mands

Multi­na­tional com­pa­nies se­cure prom­ises for bet­ter co­op­er­a­tion and more ef­fi­cient deal­ings with the state

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY DIMITRA MANIFAVA

At a meet­ing with Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Costis Hatzi­dakis and his deputy, No­tis Mi­tarakis,yes­ter­day, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 11 multi­na­tional com­pa­nies with pro­duc­tion units in Greece said the main prob­lems the firms face in this coun­try are en­ergy costs and the mul­ti­ple pro­ce­dures in deal­ing with the state.

The min­istry’s aim in con­duct­ing such meet­ings is to con­trib­ute to find­ing ways of re­solv­ing gen­eral is­sues and to work out la carte so­lu­tions in the con­text of the law.

The meet­ing in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Athe­nian Brew- ery, Bar­illa Hel­las, Bic Vi­olex, Henkel Hel­las, Kraft Foods Hel­las, Elais-Unilever Hel­las, Nes­tle Hel­las, Fries­landCamp­ina Hel­las, Pa­pas­tratos, SCA Hy­giene Prod­ucts and Ytong-Thrakon.

Hatzi­dakis told the rep­re­sen­ta­tives that the is­sue of high en­ergy costs is one that the government is ex­am­in­ing in as­so­ci­a­tion with its in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors in an ef­fort to find ways to re­duce them. Com­pa­nies are ask­ing for a sin­gle point of con­tact with the state, an is­sue that the government is ex­am­in­ing with the World Bank. They also want ex­port pro­ce­dures to be sim­pli­fied, as sev­eral of the com­pa­nies present in the meet­ing want to use their Greek units to pro­duce com­modi­ties that will be sold abroad. It is un­der­stood that there will be fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with the min­istry on that.

Multi­na­tion­als fur­ther asked for the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of li­cens­ing pro­ce­dures and the en­force­ment of the law on open­ing up closed-shop pro­fes­sions. For its part, the min­istry in­tro­duced the is­sue of price in­flex­i­bil­ity, but the re­sponse it re­ceived was that prices have gone down through of­fers, although this is not re­flected in the of­fi­cial in­fla­tion data.

A co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment will be signed to­day by Philip Mor­ris In­ter­na­tional and the Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment Min­istry in the pres­ence of the prime min­is­ter, pro­vid­ing for the Swiss multi­na­tional’s ac­qui­si­tion of 50 per­cent of the an­nual to­bacco pro­duc­tion in Greece for the pe­riod from 2013 to 2015, thereby bol­ster­ing Greek pro­duc­ers. The deal is be­lieved to be worth in ex­cess of 100 mil­lion eu­ros.

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