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Greece Cutting Red Tape to Draw Investors: Finance Minister

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With Greece hitting its marks on the financial bailout earlier this year, it is now taking steps to streamline business and investment processes to promote growth, the country’s finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, told CNBC Thursday.

“We are making it easier to have businesses. We are making it easier for large investments to come into the country with a fast-track process so as they bypass the bureaucratic administrative hurdles,” said Papaconstantinou.

“They [the changes] are going to be what is driving investment and job creation in the years to come.”

In accepting a $141.5 billion package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund earlier this year, Greek agreed to adopt austerity measures that involved cutting the budget deficit to 3 percent of its GDP by 2012, from 13.6 percent.

Papaconstantinou said Greece has two types of investment “plays” now. One: nations, such as China, which plan to expand on its investment in the Mediterranean land.

The other: investors in particular sectors, such as long-standing ones like shipping and tourism, but others like infrastructure, real estate and logistics, said the minister. He added that there’s a lot of interest in the port of Piraeus, which is a thriving entry point just outside of Athens.

“If you look at where we were three months ago, very few thought we would be where we are now. We are beginning, if not to convince the skeptics, we are beginning to at least change their attitudes,” he added.

“People may say, ‘We are a country that took control of its destiny and made some serious long-term and short-term changes with positive consequences for its citizens.’ ”