Business / Economy

Bank of Greece: co-op potential with China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-27 11:09

ATHENS - Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos reaffirmed on Monday the great potential for further enhancement of cooperation between Greece and China in several fronts, including the banking sector, calling on Chinese entrepreneurs to explore investment opportunities in Greece.

"Relations between the two countries are well advancing year after year. There is quite a lot of scope for further improving our relations in all fronts and I am quite optimistic that this will happen," Provopoulos said in an interview with Xinhua at the Bank's headquarters in Athens on the prospects of Greek economy.

He suggested focus on areas of the Greek economy which are expected to expand fast in coming years, such as tourism, one of the traditional pillars of Greek economy, real estate, agriculture, commercial business ties, and the financial sector as well.

Big Greek banks have a systemic presence outside Greece in a number of countries in the Balkan area, so they are regional banks, not national banks, an aspect which can be quite valuable for Chinese banking institutions seeking a presence in the Southeastern Europe, he argued.

Pointing to COSCO's presence at the port of Piraeus as a good example of a Chinese company operating in Greece today with positive results, Provopoulos called on Chinese businesses to grab the opportunity to benefit from the projected improvement of Greek economy by investing soon.

BoG's chief expressed optimism that debt-ridden Greece, which since 2010 is struggling, will be able to advance again once the ongoing fiscal adjustment and structural reform program will bear fruits.

He called on China to support this process to the benefit of both countries and peoples, stressing the common characteristics which link the two nations.

"We Greeks love Chinese peoples, maybe because we share a very long history behind us. We are people with strong, rich history and you know very well that countries with history behind them are better equipped to address crises which by their nature are short-term or medium-term phenomena," Provopoulos noted.

"We were able as Greeks to withstand even worse situations in the past. This is a temporary crisis we are going through and I am sure that in the coming years Greece will go ahead, will be prosperous as it was in the past," he said.

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