Greece and China have signed multiple trade and investment agreements in areas including shipping and energy worth approximately $4.6 billion, according to the Greek Development Ministry.
The signings took place within the framework of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s official three-day visit to Greece.
The deals, among others, include multi-billion-dollar Chinese bank loans to build at least ten Greek-owned ships in Chinese shipyards.
During a joint press conference at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said: “We seek to bring China closer to Europe. Greece can become China’s gateway in Europe, and the start of a European trade corridor.”
These investments might herald a new era for the Greek slumping economy, and blaze the path for future investors.
China is said to have already set sights on a few potential investment opportunities, namely a 67% stake in the Piraeus Port Authority, which is to be privatized as part of Greek government’s shipping revitalization plan.
Chinese shipping company COSCO, already a familiar name in the Greek shipping market, is rumoured to be favoured for this deal.
A number of other Greek ports, including the second largest Port of Thessaloniki, await privatization under a state asset programme mandated under the country’s EU-IMF debt rescue.
World Maritime News Staff, June 20, 2014; Image: gov.cn