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Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Katrougalos participates in the China International Import Expo in Shanghai - Meetings with members of government and leading Chinese companies (Shanghai, 05-07 November 2018)
Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Katrougalos represented Greece at the First China International Import Expo (CIEE) which is held in Shanghai, whereby an attempt is made to symbolically and substantially mark further opening up of the Chinese domestic market. The expo, in which 3,600 companies from 172 countries participate, commenced with a speech by China’s President, Xi Jinping in the presence of numerous heads of state, such as the Prime Ministers of Russia, Hungary, Malta, as well as many African and Asian countries.
In the context of the Exposition’s Forum, Mr Katrougalos spoke at the World Shipping Summit organised by COSCO, in the presence of the company's Chairman, Xu Lirong, stressing that the port Piraeus is developing into a main portal of European-Asian trade, strengthening both exports and imports to China and other Asian countries.
The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with China's Vice Minister of Transport, He Jianzhong. During the meeting, strengthening of the cooperation between Greece and China in the field of transports was discussed, centred around the Pireaus Port Authority, tourism, as well as the important issue of expanding the airline connection between Greece and China. The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also referred to the shipbuilding sector, given that the largest number of Greek-owned ships are built at China’s shipyards, stressing the importance placed by Greece on including Greek companies on the list of feedstock manufacturers.
Mr Katrougalos subsequently met with the heads of a number of large Chinese companies. More specifically, he had a meeting with the Chairman, Shu Yinbiao, and members of its Board of Directors of the State Grid Corporation of China, the State electric company and the world’s largest utility company, with 1.1 billion customers and 928,000 employees, which recently acquired 24% of ADMIE. During the course of the meeting, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that Greece, in recent years, is becoming an energy hub between Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as leader in the field of renewable energy sources, while he proposed further synergies with the Chinese side.
The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with the Chairman of Huawei company (who is responsible for Europe), Victor Zhang, and they discussed issues which pertain to the company’s investments in Greece, as well as proposals for expanding collaborations with Greek companies.
Mr Katrougalos also had a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Yi Huiman, and high-ranking bank officials. ICBC is the world’s largest bank, with assets value exceeding 4 trillion dollars. Mr Katrougalos presented the whole network of Greek-Chinese financial relations and analysed the benefits which will result from opening of a branch in Athens.
In addition, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the President of Fosun, Xu Xiangliang, and company officials. During the course of the meeting, the representatives of Fosun showed particular interest in investing in Greece, in areas such as Tourism, Healthcare, and Financial Services. Finally, he had a meeting with representatives of other high-tech companies, such as with the first Vice-President of the telecommunications company ZTE, Xiao Ming, as well as with capital management and real estate companies which have invested or intend to invest in Greece.
During his meetings, Mr Katrougalos stressed the strategic nature of the cooperation between the two countries. He also presented Greece’s new production model, which makes use of its comparative advantages, such as the geopolitics of its position as a natural bridge between Asia, Africa, and Europe, its significant biodiversity which results in valuable and high-quality products being produced and, above all, its skilled and educated workforce. Greece is consistently developing an outward-looking economy, based on increased exports, strengthening of tourism, and attracting investment. Mr Katrougalos referred specifically to the especially favourable new investment environment, as our country has definitively exited the financial crisis, with its economy now being more competitive and more attractive. He stressed that Greece can constitute the main portal for entry of Chinese goods onto the European markets.
Finally, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a lecture on “The Future of Europe” at Shanghai's Fudan University.