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Greece - China

China pledges support for cash-strapped Greece

Reuters
2 min

China's Premier Wen Jiabao pledged badly needed investment to Greece on Saturday, during a state visit to Athens. Following talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, Wen announced increased Chinese co-operation on trade and finance with Greece as the country struggles to recover from its worst ever debt crisis.

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As well as signing bilateral agreements on investment and tourism, the two leaders announced the creation of a 3.6-billion-euro fund to help Greek shipping companies buy Chinese-made boats.

Sources indicate that deals for the purchase of six ships worth several million euros were concluded during Saturday's talks, including two cargo vessels and a tanker.

The shipping industry is seen as one of the biggest opportunities for Chinese investment in Greece. Notably, in 2009 China's state-owned shipping company Cosco took over the operation of Greece's main Piraeus port outside Athens, in a deal worth 3.4 billion euros.

During his visit, Wen also pledged to buy long-term bonds from Greece when it next holds an issue.

Greece has struggled to attract investors to its long-term bonds since having to seek a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund earlier this year.

Wen is due to address the Greek parliament on Sunday, before meeting with President Carolos Papoulias.

After a three-day visit to Greece, the Chinese premier will continue his European tour in Belgium, before visiting Italy and Turkey.

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