No alarm in Greece's port U-turn

Updated: 2015-02-02 07:44

By Mei Xinyu(China Daily)

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Moreover, since the EU bailout program expires on Feb 28, Greece has to repay the debt on or before that date and cannot afford to default. In this context, selling the shares of Piraeus Port will not only bring Greece billions of euros, but also large sums of new fixed asset investments, which mean more than money, for they can create jobs. A National Bank of Greece study shows that the Piraeus Port ventures could increase Greece's GDP by 2.5 percent and create about 125,000 jobs.

COSCO does not have to worry about the Greek government's decision, especially because it has a good performance record. From 2008 to 2014, the flow of goods through Piraeus Port increased from 430,000 standard containers to 3.16 million standard containers, 80 percent of which came from COSCO itself. With the support of the Chinese government, COSCO is likely to continue benefiting the port, and the Greek economy and people.

That the new Greek government will not halt the privatization of the port for long was borne out by Theodoros Dritsas, alternate minister of shipping and the Aegean, when he said: "The COSCO deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people." And the review will prove that continuing the deal is in the best interest of the Greek people.

Therefore, there is no need to raise bids to get the port's shares. Instead, there is need to promote interaction with Greece, let its people know how sincere China is about its commitments, and give the new Greek government enough reason to persuade its nationals that the deal with China benefits them all.

When the civil war broke out in Libya in 2011, Greece offered China full help to evacuate its citizens from the North African country through the Mediterranean. And because Sino-Greek political, economic and cultural ties have strengthened over the years, Chinese leaders and entrepreneurs should be confident that the Greek government's move on ports will have a good ending.

The author is a researcher at the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute, affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.

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