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China is doing the right thing by promoting openness: Greek alternate foreign minister

By Sun Zhao in Shanghai (People's Daily Online)    11:25, November 07, 2018

China is doing the right thing by promoting openness and commerce at a time when some world leaders believe trade wars will lead to gains, George Katrougalos, the Greek Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs, told People’s Daily’s Overseas Media Center in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

“The China International Import Expo is a historic event,” said Katrougalos, who is attending the Expo in Shanghai.

“It signifies not just the opening of the Chinese economy, but that China is not any more promoting your economy through infrastructure or exports, but through commerce, which is good for China and also good for the world, in a time when we have some believe that through trade wars one can have gains,” he said.

“Trade wars will always lead to a lose-lose situation for everyone, because they’re reducing the volume of commerce, the right answer is exactly openness,” he added.

Greece and China are working together to raise their economic ties to a new height, according to the deputy minister. Foreign ministers from the two countries in August signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly advance the construction of the Belt and Road, making Greece the first developed nation to sign a Belt and Road MOU.

“We have from the first moment embraced the idea of the Belt and Road Initiative because it consists with one of our comparative advantages. We consider Greece a kind of bridge between Asia, Europe, and north Africa. And therefore we want to be the gate for China’s products to Europe, and vice versa,” Katrougalos said.

China and Greece have engaged in multi-dimensional cooperation in the shipping industry. Possessing the world’s largest shipping industry, Greek ships carry most of Chinese maritime commerce. Due to its geographical advantage, Greece serves as an important gateway for China’s cargo to Europe and North Africa. The two sides are also actively working together on jointly developing the Port of Piraeus, a key project of the Initiative.

“The port of Piraeus is a very big success of the Belt and Road Initiative. Now it’s the fastest developing port in the Mediterranean, and we’re hoping it’s going to be No.1 with regard to containers.”

In addition, Greece has built more than 1,500 ships in Chinese shipyards in the last 10 years, according to data provided by the alternate foreign minister.

“So it’s a very integrated project we have. Because we both are maritime nations, it is going to guarantee a long-lasting cooperation.” 

George Katrougalos, the Greek Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs. Photo courtesy of Greek Embassy in China

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(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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