China’s honourary status at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this year is the culmination of a relationship that has strengthened in recent years and has much to offer in the years to come, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday, inaugurating the country’s exhibition area on the first day of a week long fair.
Tsipras welcomed Chinese investment in Greece and called for more companies to enter the market, noting that the Greek economy “is eager” for investments.
“The Chinese government’s strategic initiative to invest more than one trillion dollars globally with the ‘New Silk Road’ finds Greece in a phase of recovery from the economic crisis, at a time when it must use its most important comparative the advantage, which is that our country is at the convergence point of three continents, to become a global transit, trade and energy hub,” the Greek premier said in his opening address.
“COSCO’s large investment at the port of Piraeus was followed by an important expression of interest for a series of investments at a moment when the Greek economy is eager for investments. The presence of Chinese companies is particularly important and it is welcome,” he added.
Tsipras said there is also great potential for cooperation in tourism and welcomed the introduction of a direct airline service from Athens to Beijing on September 30. He then welcomed the Chinese companies exhibiting at TIF and expressed hope this will mean the further strengthening of bilateral relations.
On his side, Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli spoke about Tsipras’ recent visit to Beijing describing it as a “milestone” for the two countries which allowed the creation of a mutually beneficial relationship. Zou said he will read a message from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at tonigh’s TIF inauguration ceremony.
After the opening, Tsipras toured the stands of several Chinese companies where he was informed about their products.