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GREECE AND CHINA SIGN AGREEMENTS IN BEIJING AFTER MEETING BETWEEN SAMARAS AND CHINESE PREMIER
Chinese companies desire involvement in Greece's infrastructure sector, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday after talks with visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The two premiers discussed all aspects of Greek Greek-Chinese relations during their meeting, especially economic cooperation and long-range strategic plans. Following their talks, a number of agreements and protocols were signed by the Greek side and the Chinese government.
Samaras is on an official visit to China until May 19, accompanied by a delegation of some 60-plus Greek business leaders, after which he will fly to Azerbaijan for a one-day visit.
"We are global shipping powers and we can cooperate in many areas. Since 2010 there has been heightened cooperation, while Chinese companies desire to become active in the infrastructure sectors. We will take action to boost commercial transactions, with the target of increasing the volume of transactions to eight billion euros in 2015," the Chinese premier said during a dinner for the Greek mission.
Referring to geopolitical issues, Li noted that China is Greece's ally in the Cyprus issue and asked for Athens' help in improving China's relations with the European Union, especially in light of Greece's upcoming stint in the EU presidency in the first half of 2014.
He also asked Athens to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the process for issuing visas.
Responding, Samaras noted that the new investment law made provision for fast-track procedures that will make Chinese investment easier, adding that the Greek government "is here to look at everything, step by step, and facilitate our cooperation."
Specifically, they discussed expanding the activity of the Chinese container company Cosco at the main port of Greece, Piraeus, and the possibility of Chinese investment in Greek railroads and regional airports and ports.
The agreements signed by the two sides included:
- A Cooperation Protocol with China Development Bank, signed by Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) President Stelios Stavridis and aiming to promote the Greek Privatizations Programme and the active participation of Chinese companies. Government officials hailed the interest expressed by the leading financial organization as a sign that the Chinese have confidence in Greece's prospects for economic growth.
-A cooperation agreement between China Development Bank and Invest in Greece, signed by Invest in Greece Managing Director Stefanos Isaias, to promote economic cooperation in priority sectors, such as tourism, real estate, telecommunications, transport, energy and investment financing. Based on this, China Development Bank will promote Invest in Greece's plans for investments involving Chinese companies and finance their implementation after an assessment. The Greek government's intention to establish an Institute for Growth aimed at boosting the Greek economy was warmly welcomed by the China Development Bank, which will consider participating in the international cooperation.
- A Cooperation Memorandum with the Chinese company Huawei, signed by Greek Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Costis Hatzidakis. In the next three years, the company will create a logistics hub in Greece and a center for research and innovation, in cooperation with leading Greek research centres and Greek technological companies. Also, Huawei is willing to cooperate with Greek universities and Research Centres and offer training to students and young graduates.
- A Cooperation Memorandum with the Chinese company ZTE - again signed by Hatzidakis - which will undertake to turn the port of Piraeus into a transit and logistics hub for ZTE products in Europe and the greater Mediterranean region. ZTE is among the five leading manufacturers of telecommunications equipment worldwide. Its clients include more than 500 telecommunications providers worldwide and it has a presence in over 140 countries, including Greece.
SOURCE: ATHENS-MACEDONIAN NEWS AGENCY