Organizers of Greece's largest and most prestigious annual trade fair expect that Sino-Greek cooperation will be strengthened after this year's event, which opens on Saturday.
With China as an honored country this year, the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) aims to further boost bilateral trade between the two countries, which last year exceeded $4.5 billion.
This year's fair will be inaugurated by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday and will host around 1,500 exhibitors, up from 1,015 last year.
China occupies an exhibition area of six acres, with a delegation of 400 people and about 170 companies, including giants who play a key role in the Road and Belt Initiative, organizers noted.
"We want, and we believe, this is feasible, that Thessaloniki should become a hub for the promotion of Chinese products in the Balkans and the big market in Europe," said Tasos Tzikas, chairman of TIF-Helexpo SA, during a press conference in the northern port city.
During the trade fair, which runs to September 17, several forums on bilateral cooperation will also take place. Among them will be a New Silk Road forum on Sunday, which is co-organized by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency and China's Xinhua News Agency under the auspices of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
During the press conference, political attache Gao Wenqi from the Chinese embassy in Greece underlined that Sino-Greek relations were now at a new level and expressed confidence that there would be prospects to further enhance bilateral trade collaboration.
TIF expects around 250,000 visitors this year from 17 countries. In addition, 43 chambers are taking part with 360 companies.