Thursday, May 16, 2013

Samaras hopes more Chinese investment...

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by CCTV reporter Wang Xinye
 
Amid a continuing financial crisis at home, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras began his four-day visit to China on Thursday. 

Samaras is here to encourage Chinese investment in his country and the signing of numerous agreements with China seemed to reflect that hope. 

The second EU leader to visit China after the leadership transition in the country, on the invitation of the Premier Li Keqiang, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras started his official visit to China on Thursday.





Chinese Premier Li Keqiang holds talks with visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)
 
In the afternoon, Premier Li Keqiang held a meeting with his Greek counterpart. Li said the two countries needed to work together to promote trade cooperation and to double the current trade volume by 2015. He also agreed on investing more in the Greek shipping industry, which echoed Samaras’s expectations. The two signed cooperation agreements on trade, investment, shipping and agriculture.
Chinese experts believe the visit will make up for what’s been missing in China-Greece relations.

Song Xiaomin, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "Many scholars in China have been studying China-Greece relations and recent idea of the imbalance between political and economic relations of the two countries. We’ve see warm political partnership, but trade volume between the two countries is very small compared to that of China and other European countries."


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with visiting Greek Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras during a welcoming ceremony held before their
talks in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2013. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
 
Antonis Samaras took office when Greece was right in the middle of its sovereign debt crisis.
During his speech to scholars at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences early on Thursday, he did not avoid talking about Greece’s difficulties. He said the Greek people have made painful efforts to bring down deficit at the cost of losing 20-25 percent of their GDP in four years.
Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime Minister, said, "These are important records on all counts; records of achievement; but also records of painful transformation of an entire country."
He also expressed his gratitude to China for supporting Greece in its toughest time.
Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime Minister, said, "With this opportunity, I want to thank you today on behalf of all Greeks! During our most difficult moments in the last three years, China stood on our side. In a way that was very discrete, very steady and very comforting for us. With your public statements you supported Europe; you supported Greece’s efforts to stay in the Euro! We felt it back home. And we won’t forget it. "


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) and visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras (R, front) inspect the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony
held before their talks in Beijing, capital of China,
May 16, 2013. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
 
Economic cooperation is the major focus of Samaras’s visit to China. He is followed by a business delegation of over 60 Greek entrepreneurs looking for business opportunities in China. In 2008, China’s giant transportation group Cosco invested in the main Greek port of Piraeus. Product distribution in Piraeus has more than tripled in the past three years.
China and Greece have been comprehensive strategic partners since 2006. And Antonis Samaras is the first Greek Prime Minister to visit China since then. Later this week, he will travel to Shanghai to meet the business leader there and he may also attend the World Culture Forum in the city Hangzhou. 
17/5/13 (CHINA TIME)

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