Trumpeting his administration’s pro-business attitude and starting major projects blocked by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis used his visit to Shanghai to push for more Chinese investments.
The Chinese shipping company COSCO already operates the port of Piraeus and got a green light from the government to go ahead with a modified 612-million euro ($677.7 million) overhaul as part of China’s plans to use it as a gateway to the European Union as part of its New Silk Road program to boost its presence and business.
Είμαστε αποφασισμένοι να αξιοποιήσουμε στο έπακρο τις κινήσεις για άνοιγμα της μεγάλης Κινεζικής αγοράς. Η Ελλάδα θέλει να επεκτείνει το αποτύπωμά της στην αγορά των αγρο-διατροφικών προϊόντων. Πρόθεσή μας είναι να κάνουμε την παρουσία μας αισθητή στην Κίνα.Συνέντευξη στο Κινεζικό δίκτυο CGTN. https://primeminister.gr/2019/11/05/22482
Posted by Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Finishing up a three-day visit on Nov. 6, Mitsotakis emphasized that Greece was “open for business” again after hard-core elements in SYRIZA kept trying to block foreign companies and stymied the 8-billion-euro ($8.86 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon Internatinal Airport that Mitsotakis said now would begin by the end of the year after he lifted barriers.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is now set to come to Greece Nov. 10-12 as the links grow tighter between the countries, two years after China was the honored guest at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and Chinese companies are keen on doing business in the country.
“Today in Greece there is a government that is determined to facilitate foreign investors, attract foreign capital and create wealth and prosperity for all Greeks in a sustainable manner that protects the environment,” Mitsotakis told Xi, reported GTP Headlines
Mitsotakis, accompanied by a delegation of business leaders, said there would a launch in July of a direct China-Athens air connection by Juneyao Air while two of China’s largest banks – the Luxembourg-based Bank of China (Europe) and the Commercial Bank of China (Europe) – are set on opening shop in Athens, the Bank of Greece said.
Speaking at a Greek-China business forum in Shanghai, Mitsotakis invited Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Greece. “Now more than ever, Greece needs more investments. There is no better time to write a new chapter in Greek-Chinese relations,” he said, the site reported.
He said there are a number of areas for cooperation, citing COSCO, and said that, “We are committed in full to implementing the necessary changes that will ‘unlock’ the real potential of this country,” and lure more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI.)
Referring to tourism as one of the country’s leading revenue generators, Mitsotakis said, “The economy is expected to grow at a rate of almost 3 percent in 2020,” which will come a decade after a deep economic crisis started, requiring 326 billion euros ($361 billion) in three international bailouts that ended Aug. 20, 2018.
He said shipping, energy, and the green economy were areas with promising potential for growth underlining Greece’s geopolitical position as an added advantage although EU critics worry that China is trying to gain too big a foothold and is using Greece to do it.
With the motto A Culture to Share, Greece was the honored country at this year’s China International Import Expo 2019 (CIIE) with the Greek delegation, especially in tourism, shipping, energy, construction, pharmaceuticals and agrifood taking part.
Speaking of a “new momentum to our strategic cooperation,” President Xi said Greece’s participation in the expo is “a step for the Chinese market to open to the rest of the world,” with the EU a critical area.