25 October, 2006
Greece and China are seeking to further improve their ties in shipping, visiting Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.
"China has shown especial interest in the creation of infrastructure, initially at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, for its transit goods to the Middle East, Europe, the Black Sea countries etcetera," the minister told reporters.
"There is interest not only from Chinese companies in the creation of infrastructure in Greek ports, but also on the part of Greek shipowners for facilities at Chinese ports," he reported.
In addition, work had begun on resolving minor difficulties between the two sides.
Open tenders would be called for port improvement projects, with financial criteria taken into account, a bidding floor, and guarantees for cargo in transit, Alogoskoufis said.
Accompanying him, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias underlined that he saw opportunities for alliances in all sectors.
"We proposed backing the creation in the two countries of joint ventures between Greek and Chinese firms," Folias noted.
Greek new shipbuilding in China: More than 100 ships have been ordered by Greek shipowners for construction in China, Alogoskoufis said in a speech to Chinese executives and ministry representatives.
"We encourage this kind of cooperation, and we would like to see those ships used by Chinese firms for their exports. Chinese companies could also employ Greece's strategic geo-political position and back access for their products to Europe, especially in the rapidly evolving southeastern European market," the minister said.
He also outlined the Greek economy's performance.
"Despite high oil prices, low growth in the eurozone, and our drive for fiscal revitalization, the Greek economy is growing at a brisk pace. Our reform plan is backing enterprise, toning up the international orientation of firms and an outward-looking approach to the economy, and improving competitiveness," he said.
"Greece has the most evolved social, political and economic infrastructure in the region, and is actively promoting the incorporation of its neighbors in the European Union, the minister reported.
Many multinationals had recognized major benefits offered by Greece, and opted for the country as the seat of their operations in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
"Greece is a gateway for foreign investors to a dynamically evolving region," Alogoskoufis said.
On Wednesday, the minister leaves Beijing for Shanghai for talks with government officials.
Source: Athens News Agency