Greece, China sign 14 commercial agreements during visit by Chinese vice-premier

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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ATHENS — Greek and Chinese companies signed 14 commercial deals, including for the construction of cargo ships and the export of olive oil, during a visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, officials said Tuesday.

Debt-plagued Greece has been seeking to boost investments from China, and Chinese shipping and transport giant Cosco Group has said it is looking to expand its Greek operations.  The company already operates two container terminals at Greece’s largest port of Piraeus, on a 35-year concession worth $1 billion that was finalized last year.

The agreements signed Tuesday include three between shipping companies and Cosco for the construction of seven dry bulk cargo ships, with options for four more, and the chartering of another five.

Telecoms company OTE also signed an agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies, while food companies signed four agreements for the export of Greek olive oil to China.  No figures were immediately available as to how much the deals were worth.

China’s Transport Minister Li Shenglin and Greece’s development minister, Louka Katseli, also signed a co-operation agreement for the shipping sector.

Shipping is one of Greece’s main industries, with Greeks controlling nearly 20 per cent of the world’s merchant fleet.

Zhang, who arrived in Athens Monday on a four-day visit, met with Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Pangalos and was to meet later with Prime Minister George Papandreou.  He is to fly to the island of Crete later in the week.

Organizations: Cosco Group

Geographic location: Greece, China, ATHENS Piraeus Island of Crete

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