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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-02

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Chinese investment seen as 'vote of confidence' for Greek economy

  • [01] Chinese investment seen as 'vote of confidence' for Greek economy

    (ANA-MPA) -- Thirteen bilateral agreements, a pledge that Beijing will continue purchasing Greek treasury bonds and a tour of the port of Piraeus, the site of a major investment by Chinese multinational Cosco, were the highlights of Saturday's visit to Athens by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, viewed as a high-profile "vote of confidence" for the debt- and deficit-battered Greek economy.

    The 13 agreements were signed immediately after talks between the Chinese premier and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, of which 11 are commercial deals.

    "With foreign currency reserves China has already purchased Greek bonds, and will participate in the purchase of new bonds issued by Greece," Wen Jiabao said, while forecasting that bilateral trade between the two countries will reach a noteworthy figure eight billion dollars annually within the next five years.

    In a bid to reach out to one of the Greek economy's "mainstays" -- ocean-going maritime transport -- the influential Chinese leader announced the establishment of a Sino-Greek development fund of five billion US dollars to provide financing to Greek shipowners choosing to build new vessels in China.

    In terms of the all-important investments fronts, given Greece's now urgent emphasis on attracting FDIs, Wen Jiabao said the Chinese side will significantly increase its investment at the port of Piraeus, Greece's largest, while also examining the possibilities of investment in other sectors and areas.

    "We are pleased with this vote of confidence for the efforts being made by the Greek people and government to put our country back in order," Papandreou said, noting that "this is vote of confidence to continue buying Greek bonds -- a vote of confidence also for the EU; it's a vote of confidence that investments will increase in Piraeus, allowing it to become a China-Europe transport hub; a vote of confidence that you want to double Greek imports to China, and many other decisions, such as the Greece-China development fund for ship-building in China and a call to your entrepreneurs to invest in Greece."

    Asked about the debilitating economic crisis faced by Greece, the Chinese premier said:|

    "The Greek government has taken timely and effective measures to deal with the crisis, and structural reforms to rehabilitate the fiscal system. We also noted the joint support mechanism by the IMF and EU, as well as (the fact) that these measures have produced positive results ... I am confident that the Greek economy will also recover along with the international economic recovery. Greece, during its history, has acquired invaluable spiritual wealth, and I believe that with its own effort it will overcome this difficulty," he emphasised.

    The two premiers, at the head of respective ministerial delegations, later toured the Cosco container terminal at the port of the Piraeus. (ANA-MPA)

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