Closer ties with China

Sino-Greek economic and business ties are getting closer and were further supported by the visit of an official Greek delegation last week, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis reported yesterday. He noted that Greek-owned ships transport about 50 percent of all Chinese imports and 60 percent of its oil imports. Also, there is strong interest from Chinese companies in investing in Greece and assuming a role in the management of the country’s two largest ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, which can become transit hubs for trade between China and Southeastern Europe. Alogoskoufis said a Chinese airline will launch an air link between Athens and Beijing in the next few months. It was also agreed that the bourses of Athens and Shanghai will cooperate in the trading of «baskets» of stocks, and that Greece and Hong Kong will open representative commercial and economic bureaus. Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias, a member of the delegation, said there was very high potential in boosting bilateral exchanges and emphasized the importance of conveying the message that no business should attempt to supply faulty or adulterated goods to the Chinese market. «We are not prepared to accept ill business practices, for this entire campaign to this country has involved a long-term effort and requires coordination and seriousness,» he said. Alogoskoufis said that apart from the contacts with ministers and high-level officials, including the governor of the Bank of China, there were successful business deals involving Greek firms, such as Korres Natural Products, which will open outlets in China.

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