China’s guests expect to have a busy schedule when Greece is welcomed as the official guest country of the 2019 China International Import Expo, a business trade fair, in Shanghai this Sunday. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Chinese President Xi Jinping will personally visit the Greek pavilion there. Next week, Xi will be Mitsotakis’ guest in Athens, signaling trade relations are in high gear.
“The Shanghai fair presents opportunities for Greek exporters, but only if they put concrete proposals on the table,” says Athens-based political scientist George Tzogopoulos, who works with Chinese think tanks and is currently in Beijing. He says with Greek exports to China totaling less than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) annually, businesses have a lot of catching up to do.
But there’s more to it than that: The state-owned enterprise (SEO) China COSCO Shipping has invested heavily in a showcase port project in Piraeus. Now it is planning a massive expansion for the very near future. Beijing has already invested more than €800 million in the port and intends to invest another €600 million.