Spotlight: Greek businesses see great potential to further deepen cooperation with China under BRI

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-30 03:52:03|Editor: huaxia

by Maria Spiliopoulou, Valentini Anagnostopoulou

ATHENS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- There is great potential to further deepen Sino-Greek cooperation in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Greek officials and businessmen have told Xinhua in recent interviews on the occasion of the forthcoming 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE), which will be held in Shanghai next month.

In recent years, bilateral collaboration has produced remarkable results, with several third-party observers commending the achievements made, for example, in the flagship project of the expansion and upgrade of Greece's largest port, Piraeus, with China's COSCO Shipping group's investments.

"The Greek-Chinese partnership at the port of Piraeus has become a cornerstone of the presently dynamic relationship between our two countries," said Betty Alexandropoulou, Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Greece, the official trade and investment promotion agency of the Greek state.

"With Chinese investment, Piraeus has been transformed into the busiest container port in the Mediterranean and is being developed further as an important center for other freight, tourism and ship repair operations," Alexandropoulou continued.

The Greece-China Action Plan identifies areas of cooperation in the transport, energy and telecommunications sectors, she explained.

China's State Grid Corporation has acquired a 24-percent stake in Greece's power transmission company, while Shenhua Group has announced plans for a 3-billion euro (3.5-billion-U.S. dollar) investment in renewable energy products through a joint venture, Alexandropoulou noted.

Representatives of Greek companies participating in the 2020 CIIE also warmly welcomed the opportunity to widen win-win cooperation under the BRI umbrella.

The Hellas Group of major Greek trading companies in China was established in early 2016, responding to the BRI initiative, Takis Skolarikis, the Hellas Group's Vice President, told Xinhua.

The Hellas Group is promoting cultural exchanges, trade cooperation and tourism ties between China and Greece, he explained.

"Sino-Greek cooperation at Piraeus port, with investment from China's COSCO Shipping, is an exemplary case of win-win partnership. The BRI has brought beneficial opportunities with Chinese companies operating in Greece, which is a gateway to the rest of Europe," Skolarikis said.

"Significant prospects and trade opportunities could also deepen the two countries' cooperation in the fields of manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, transport, logistics, communications technology, research and development. Moreover, tourism has expanded significantly, and cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges are being boosted, further strengthening the links between the two countries," he added.

Elena Apostolidou, export manager of Ktima Pavlidis, a producer of premium wines in northern Greece, sees great potential in exports of agricultural products.

China's BRI, facilitating trade between Greece and China, enables Greek agricultural products, including wine, to penetrate the Chinese market and lead to a rapid development of the Greek wine business, she told Xinhua.

"Our business can expand thanks to this more open market environment. Having traveled to China several times and having welcomed Chinese people to the winery on different occasions, I am convinced that tourism and agricultural products, such as olive oil, honey and wine, have a bright future in the Chinese market," she said. Enditem