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Chinese premier in Athens for investments

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang  is due in Athens on Thursday for a three-day visit during which both sides are expected to reaffirm their commitment to boosting bilateral trade ties with several agreements expected to be signed.

Li Keqiang is arriving with a full investment package in his luggage, accompanied by foreign minister Wang Yi and  a 14-member government delegation.The Chinese premier who will stay in Greece until June 21st.

The Greek  government is eying the prospect of greater Chinese participation in the Greek privatization program with interest, as well as collaborative investment ventures between Greek and Chinese firms.  Premier Li will meet the Greek president, the Greek Prime Minister, and Parliament speaker during his stay in Greece.

The two countries will also sign a variety of agreements, including infrastructure construction, cultural ties and marine cooperation.  Li and the Greek Prime Minister also will attend the China-Greece Marine Cooperation forum.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Greek Premier Antonis Samaras on  Friday are scheduled to visit Cosco’s facilities in Piraeus as the firm is aiming to acquire 67 percent of the Piraeus Port Authority’s share capital.

So far the interest of Cosco for the Piraeus Port Authority is well known, but Chinese investors are also looking at the Athens internatioonal airport. “Friedmann Pacific Asset Management Limited and Shenzhen Airport Co Ltd,” the consortium operating the Shenzhen airportare bidding for a controlling interest of Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.

China State Grid is also among bidders for the privatization of the energy transit authority ADMIE, and is expected to be shortlisted for 66% of the company's shares.

Mr Li Keqiang will also be visiting Crete, where he is expected to repeat Beijing’s interest in the new international airport near the port of Iraklio.

Li Keqiang notes in a letter published in Wednesday’s Kathimerini his intention to “open up new prospects for a deeper China-Greece relationship.”

Besides the port of Piraeus, China looks forward to further investment cooperation with Greece and even identifies areas:
- airport

-railways

-roads

Specifically, for the port of Piraeus Li says:

"The port of Piraeus, the operation of which involved Chinese business is a positive example of contributing to local economic development and employment. We will work together with Greece to turn the port of Piraeus to the best of its kind in the Mediterranean. China seeks greater cooperation with Greece in the areas of airports, railways, roads and other infrastructure. "Describing the Greek and Chinese economies as “mutually complementary,” the Chinese premier said he saw “huge potential for cooperation.”

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