«The development of the cooperation among the industrial parks within the countries where the modern silk road passes, as well as the establishment and construction of new ones is indeed the objective of the International Chamber of Commerce,» stressed in an interview to «In-On» magazine Mr. Nikolaos A. Vernikos as the founder vice president of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce and also President of the Greek National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Question: Tell us about the role of the International Chamber of Commerce?
Answer: The objective of the Chamber is to promote investment and trade because we believe that this is the best way to consolidate peace and avoid war. In this framework, regarding the Silk Road, the Government of China as well as the countries that it passes through land and sea, play an important role in removing any obstacles to the mobility of people and goods. The investments which are made on both roads concern infrastructure works such as seaports. It has be noted that more than 90% of goods is transported by sea and the Greek shipowners own 20% of the international capacity in this field. That means, they are the first in cargo transfer.
Question: What role can Greece play in the ‘Silk Road»?
Answer: Greece will benefit from the development of commerce and the mobility of people along the «Silk Road» since it is strategically located. The Chinese investment in Piraeus is a prime example. In fact, Piraeus is today the fastest growing port in the world. Also, the ports of Northern Greece (Thessalonica, Kavala, Alexandroupolis) also have great prospects for development because they can serve South East Europe. Another port of great potential, which is currently «inactive» is Astakos, located in Western Greece, due to its proximity to Italy. Most goods are shipped by containers. It is up to us to create a friendly business climate so as to make investments through land. Especially, as far as the processing of Asian products is concerned , it is important to be able to move freely, free of duty within the European market.
Question: Tell us about the «Silk Road»?
Answer: Under the initiative of China’s President Xi Jinping concerning the revival of the «Silk Road» in the 21st century, namely a road and naval route that could link Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe , on 9th December 2015 in Hong Kong the Silk Road Chamber of Commerce (SRCIC) was established. Personally, I participate in the founding members as President of ICC Hellas and I am Vice President of SRCIC’s first Board of Directors. The target of this Chinese Chamber is to promote the development of cooperation among silk businesses of the 21st century, in accordance with the «One Belt One Road» cooperation protocol (28/2015) between the EU & China, highlighting investment and trade opportunities.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) urges , advises and helps the countries that the Silk Road crosses so as to modernize their customs legislation assisting them with uniform rules in order to avoid obstacles regarding the mobility of goods between nations.
It is estimated that during the next 5 years China will import goods worth over $ 10 trillion while its foreign investment will exceed $ 500bn.
Additionally, it is estimated that more than 500 million visits will be realized in the silk road countries by Chinese tourists. The SRCIC informs its members that opportunities will be offered for investment in telecommunications and the Internet as well as in transport, infrastructure, energy, trade facilitation and logistics along with business partnerships and cultural exchanges.»
The SRCIC will, within the framework of its activities, set up an on line silk road platform which will provide information to its members, stressing particular emphasis on the Mass Media of the countries that the Silk Road passes regarding the opportunities for product promotion and services. The ICC anti-corruption practices will be promoted by providing information on its tools and also by projecting the ICC’s international conventions.
«Silk Road» will provide opportunities for investment and trade in the 60 countries it will link, with a total population of 4 billion people, affecting also countries in the rest of the world. It is estimated that infrastructure investments will be made to a scale of $ 1.5-2 trillion in the first decade and more than twice during the second. This will add 1.5-2% to global GDP.
Question: Tell us about the strategic plans of the Chamber in view of the «Silk Road»?
Answer: These plans include the establishment of industrial parks which will ensure investor confidence in order not to get involved with environmental, town planning, urban and other similar problems that hinder the implementation of investment plans.
The largest industrial park can be built in the port of Kavala, more particularly, in the areas of the industries that are no longer in operation. The key issue is developing cooperation between Industrial Parks in the countries where the modern Silk Road passes, as well as the establishment and construction of new ones.
The role of Industrial Parks is fundamental as they contribute to
• The development of the country’s infrastructure
• The increase of competitiveness of the industrial plant
• The promotion of modernization
• The creation of employment
• The industrial decentralization
• The ecological conservation and rational consumption of energy and water resources
• The establishment of an integrated framework for smooth industrial design and delimitation
• The increase in tax base and revenue
• The increase in the living standards of the communities where they are located
It is also worth mentioning that a special contribution to world trade will be the creation of an on line digital Silk Road, which will link its members worldwide by highlighting Silk Road’s opportunities for trade and investment. This unique on line facility constitutes a priority of the SRCIC work project.
Mr. Nikolaos A. Vernikos is the President of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-Hellas) www.iccwbo.gr,
Vice President the Silk Road Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong (SRCIC),
Member of the Board of Directors of the Naval Chamber of Greece www.nee.gr,
Member of the Board of Directors of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry
http://www.pcci.gr and Member of the Administrative Committee of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ODMED).
Also he is: Chairman of the shipping companies of VERNIKOS Group www.vernicos.name and Nick. E. VERNICOS Tug and Lifeguard Consortium www.vernicostugs.gr, established in Istanbul in the 19th century.
Vice President of VERNICOS YACHTS A.E. www.vernicos.com.
Vice President of EUROCORP AEΠΕΥ www.eurocorp.gr.
Vise President of Consortium Travel SA www.consortium.gr
With a total experience of more than 35 years in the management of the largest companies in the country, he has served as Chairman and / or Member of the Board of Directors in companies such as: PPC, National Bank of Greece (France), Olympic Airways and its subsidiaries, Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas, Duty Free Shops, MINION Department store, Attica Group / Superfast Ferries etc.
He has served as a Prefecture Advisor of Attica region and Piraeus for a decade.
Member of Coastal Transport Council
Lloyd’s Underwriting Member.
He has represented Greece at international OECD and UNCTAD conferences.
Along with his professional activities he deals with cultural and environmental issues. Apart from the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Society for the Environment and Culture, the European Cultural Center of Delphi and the Society for the Creation of a New Building of the Hellenic Opera & Academy «Maria Callas». He was the founder of the Contemporary Art Center of Kastella.
Mr. Nikolaos A. Vernikos comes from the island of Sifnos. He was born in 1945 and studied Economics at the Athens University of Economics and Business.