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China safe from effect of Greece default: Ministry of Commerce

Zhong Nan
Updated: Jul 8,2015 7:24 AM     China Daily

Greece’s debt default will not affect China’s investment as it has a small number of assets in the country and its companies are diversified in other parts of Europe.

Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said the scale of investment between China and Greece is not significant. China has invested $1.3 billion in Greece, mainly in the fields of shipping, telecommunication and photovoltaic cells.

Chinese contractors in Greece signed $45.2 million of new project contracts and completed $22.4 million worth of projects in the first five months of this year in fields such as shipbuilding and ship maintenance, according to the ministry.

Greece has invested $96 million in 130 projects in China, though it hasn’t invested this year.

“As China’s outbound direct investment in the markets of the European Union continues to significantly grow, China is hoping the economic situation in Greece can be resolved and improved,” Shen said.

Beijing-headquartered China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co, the country’s biggest shipping company, which had already invested 4.3 billion euros ($5.38 billion) in a 35-year management lease for the No 2 and No 3 piers at Greece’s Piraeus Port, said there is no sign that the country’s economic dilemma has affected the company’s operations in the port.

Piraeus Container Terminal, part of COSCO Pacific, a subsidiary of COSCO Group, signed a revised agreement in November to invest a further 230 million euros to increase the port’s annual capacity.

Chen Yingming, executive vice-president of Shanghai-based China Port and Harbors Association, said that the continued expansion will help the port become a major gateway between Asia and Europe, and will provide more job opportunities to local people.

Container traffic soared by 18.5 percent at Piraeus Port to nearly 3 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2014, a near ninefold increase on the 433,000 TEUs handled in 2008.

Shen said China’s economic and trade cooperation with Europe has been enhanced with rapid investment growth. The country’s ODI in Europe has expanded to the fields such as construction machinery, vehicle manufacturing, real estate, shipping, telecommunication, energy and finance.