Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Li’s Greece trip set to boost business deals. - Li's visit comes a year after Samaras' visit to China.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Greece will boost bilateral cooperation and facilitate various business deals, as the Mediterranean country is ready for more vigor from overseas investment, analysts said.

During the second leg of his two-nation trip to Europe, Li will attend a bilateral ocean cooperation forum and visit Greece's biggest port, Piraeus, with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, China's Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao announced earlier.

China's China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company has been operating two container wharfs in Piraeus for four years.

It was the first time a Chinese corporation was given a long-term concession to operate a large port in Europe.

Hiring over 800 people, with only eight of them from China, the wharf has seen multiplied cargo flows and has brought considerable revenues to Greece, former Chinese ambassador to Greece Du Qiwen said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency earlier.

"The wharf visit shows recognition of the cooperative efforts and indicates further cooperation," Cui Hongjian, a professor of European studies with the China Institute of International Studies, told on Monday.

  • As a major maritime country, Greece takes up 16 to 17 percent of the world's merchant shipping tonnage, Du said, adding that 50 percent of China's major import goods including grain and minerals are carried by Greek merchant ships.
  • Meanwhile, Greek ship owners have also expanded cooperation with Chinese ship building enterprises, he said.
Experts said that Li will also take the chance to present China's maritime vision at the ocean cooperation forum and respond to outside doubts over its marine power construction.

Li's speech at the forum will show that China's maritime vision is peaceful and sustainable, and he will also elaborate on China's ocean diplomacy, Wang Yiwei, a professor at the Renmin University of China, was quoted as saying by

Greece is one of China's best friends in the European Union, according to Du. During the mass evacuation of Chinese nationals from war-affected Libya in 2011, Greece assisted to evacuate 13,000 Chinese nationals within 10 days under strict border policies

  • China has also been helping Greece as it is trying to recover from the European debt crisis, by increasing imports of Greek goods and promoting investment and tourism to the country, he added.
  • Li's visit comes a year after Samaras' visit to China.
He will also meet with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Evangelos-Vasileios Meimarakis. 
Source: Global Times

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