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Greece looks to Chinese banks to set up in the country

Greece is keen to further expand its developing commercial relationship with China to include the establishment of Chinese banks in Greece.

The strong relationship between Greece and China has not only been good for Greece but has set an example for European countries, says Adonis Georgiadis, Greek Minister for Development and Investments.

Georgiadis said Chinese enterprises’ investment in Piraeus port is a successful case of bilateral cooperation and “we want to have more Chinese investments in more sectors” including banking. “We want to find ways to enable Chinese banks to have branches in Athens and help the development of Greek business,” said the Minister.

Georgiadis said the success of the Piraeus investment has exceeded expectations. He said that as a result of the investment, the upgraded Piraeus port helps products from China enter Europe more easily and at cheaper prices, he said, adding the two countries have a close cooperation in the shipping industry generally.

The Minister said that investment cooperation between Greece and China in the energy sector can also benefit other European countries. “I think Greece is a good example of cooperation with China, and this could help other European countries consider having more Chinese investments,” said Georgiadis.

The Belt and Road Initiative helps countries like Greece make it through tough times, he noted, adding China’s trust strengthened other countries’ confidence in Greece. “We will never forget that,” said the Minister, adding both Greece and China are ancient civilisations, and this rich history can be an advantage for modern development.

“We want to have more Chinese investments in more sectors,” he said, and that Greece and China could also help each other foster the development of tourism. He also said: “We want to find ways to enable Chinese banks to have branches in Athens and help the development of Greek business.

Georgiadis made his comments in the wake of Cosco-controlled Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) confirming Greece’s Committee of Planning and Development of Ports (ESAL) had approved investments amounting to EUR611.8m ($685m), which cover business units of the company and will contribute considerably to the development of the local and national economy.

Although the committee shelved another EUR300m of planned Cosco investments, PPA chairman, Yu Zenggang said that “after a long waiting period, we obtained the approval to proceed to the implementation of significant investments that will make Piraeus the most important port in the Mediterranean and will create even more new working positions”.

Regarding the shelved investments, which include a fourth container terminal of 2.7m teu capacity which would lift the port’s container capacity to 10m teu, and ship repair facilities, Yu said: “We hope the competent authorities will soon review the expansion of the container terminal as it is one major investment that will establish the Piraeus port as one of the top container terminals in Europe.”

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