China says has limited Greek investments, little default impact


Greece's debt default will not have a huge impact upon China as the country has only limited investments in Greece, state media on Wednesday cited the Commerce Ministry as saying.

Eurozone members have given Greece until the end of the week to come up with a proposal for sweeping reforms in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of Europe's currency bloc and into economic ruin.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said China has invested $1.3 billion in Greece, concentrated in shipping and telecoms, a figure that is "not significant", the official China Daily said.
Greek companies have invested only $96 million in China, and they have made no new Chinese investments this year, the newspaper added.

"As China's outbound direct investment in the markets of the European Union continues to significantly grow, China is hoping the economic situation in Greece can be resolved and improved," Shen added.
Last week, Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund.

China sees Greece as a portal into both Europe and Africa for the distribution of Chinese products. The European Union is China's largest trading partner and China is the EU's second-largest trading partner.
China's ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli said in a speech posted to the Foreign Ministry's website that China was still paying great attention to the crisis.

"Just as Greece needs the European Union and China, China needs Greece, and China-EU relations need Greece," Zou said.

China has repeatedly said it wants to see a united European Union and a strong euro, with Greece as part of it.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during a visit to Brussels last month that China did not want to see Greece leave the eurozone and it would continue to buy eurozone debt.

In February, Li urged Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to ensure protection of the rights of China's companies and backing for a port project.

China's Cosco manages two of the Piraeus port's cargo piers. Under a privatization scheme last year, it had been shortlisted, along with four other suitors, as a potential buyer of a stake of 67 percent in the port. [Reuters]