Greece stands fourth worldwide in the export of marble blocks and slabs, shipping 76 pct of its production to 120 countries, president of the Macedonia Thrace Association of Marble Businesses Ioulia Haida said on Wednesday.
Haida, who is also the vice president of Iktinos Group, revealed the data at the online forum "Exports turn Crisis into Opportunity", held by the Panhellenic Exporters Association and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce of New York.
This translates to 1.27 billion euros in global demand for Greek marble, she said Haida. The sector employs 6,500 workers who are directly involved in the primary sector and some 18,000 workers in the secondary sector, she added.
During Greece's recent financial crisis, the sector was challenged into redefining its role, becoming more extroverted and seeking a fresh strategy. Addressing the global market meant matching foreign market's demand, she noted.
A 60 pct of all exportable raw Greek marble is absorbed by China, a country known for being the largest importer of unprocessed marble in the world. As far as the American marble market is concerned, the US is Greece's top buyer of processed marble, "a strategic industry partner," accounting for 15 pct of Greece's processed marble. Greece is the US's sixth largest supplier of processed marble, following Italy, China and Turkey, among others.