Businesses look for­ward to visit

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By FU JING in Athens fu­jing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Greek busi­ness lead­ers and politi­cians look for­ward to Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang’s en­dorse­ment of fur­ther Chi­nese busi­ness and trade ac­tiv­ity in their coun­try, cit­ing COSCO’s op­er­a­tions in Athens as a jobcre­at­ing suc­cess story.

They said Li will dis­cuss with Greek Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras the Chi­nese busi­ness’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in pri­va­ti­za­tion plans for Pi­raeus Port, adding that they be­lieve COSCO’s track record would make it the ideal win­ner of the project.

COSCO is among the short­listed qual­i­fied in­ter­na­tional bid­ders who are seek­ing to pur­chase a 67 per­cent stake in Pi­raeus Port.

Ge­orge Grat­sos, pres­i­dent of the Hel­lenic Cham­ber of Ship­ping, said he sup­ported COSCO’s in­vest­ment in Pi­raeus as early as 2003, when dis­cus­sions be­gan.

“We’re happy that COSCO in­vest­ment has fi­nally ma­te­ri­al­ized, and we sup­port COSCO’s ex­pand­ing its pres­ence in Pi­raeus be­cause its oper­a­tion has proved to be a suc­cess,” he said.

Us­ing Greece as a ship­ping gate­way also means Chi­nese ex­porters will be able to avoid Euro­pean Union im­port du­ties, and Greece will get more jobs, he said.

Grat­sos said both Chi­nese and Greek lead­ers should aim higher.

“I think Athens has the ad­van­tages to be­come the next Hong Kong if both sides boost it as a global ship­ping and commercial cen­ter by us­ing each other’s strengths.”

Theodoros Fes­sas, chair­man of the Fed­er­a­tion of Hel­lenic En­ter­prises, said China will def­i­nitely con­tinue its over­seas in­vest­ment and busi­ness ex­pan­sion, and Greece should be a hub that links China and the Euro­pean mar­ket.

“China’s en­trance into Europe needs mul­ti­func­tion hubs, and Greece should be one of the op­tions,” Fes­sas said.

Chris­tos Vla­chos, a man­ag­ing part­ner of Silky Fi­nance, a con­sul­tancy in Athens, said COSCO has be­come a suc­cess­ful story by turn­ing a slow-mov­ing and mon­ey­los­ing port into a busy ter­mi­nal with many jobs.

“This can be copied in other sec­tors in Greek pri­va­ti­za­tion plans,” he said.

Unit: mil­lion Source: COSCO Pa­cific Ltd

PI­RAEUS

PORT

0.68

1.18

2.11

3.16

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