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China Stresses Commitment To Help Greece

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China is committed to support Greece “politically and economically” in order to help it recover from its debt crisis, the country’s ambassador told an audience in Athens. EurActiv Greece reports.

Du Qiwen, Chinese Ambassador in Athens, praised “the close friendship” between China and Greece and highlighted the commitment of the Chinese government to help Greece out of its debt problem.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Greek association for European studies and the Jean Monnet European centre of excellence last Friday (20 January), the diplomat highlighted the contribution of China to the eurozone debt crisis while making special reference to the prospects of the Greek-Chinese relations.

‘Partners in prosperity’

“China, Greece and the EU are partners for prosperity, together we can do better,” he said, adding that a stronger Europe was also in the interest of China.

Du Qiwen said that the dominant trend in today’s world was “globalisation, accelerated by the rapid development in science, technology and the changing global landscape [which is] is something that will change the way we live, work and communicate together.”

He continued by saying that Europe was one of the pioneers behind these trends and had largely benefited from them. He added that the EU would “continue to be the leader in many areas.”

He also noted that China supported the EU in its efforts to resolve its debt crisis, by increasing its contribution to the IMF, by buying eurozone countries’ bonds and investing in Europe. He underlined that the first 11 months of 2011 bilateral trade between the EU and China had reached $517 billion (€398 bn) with European exports to China jumping by 26.8%.

China has been reluctant to help the EU boost its rescue fund via increased contributions to the IMF, saying the international monetary institution should first be reformed before Beijing commits more money.

Interest in shipping industry, transport

Du Qiwen said that Beijing has increased its contribution to the IMF and stressed that his country had bought up Greek debt at the request of Athens. “The Chinese Investment Bank established a special fund with initial amount of $5 billion (€3.84 bn) to provide financial services to the Greek shipping industry, among others,” he said.

Particular reference was made to the Greek- Chinese cooperation in tourism with Air China, the airline, set to reopen direct flights to Athens.

The diplomat also stressed his country’s commitment to double the bilateral Greek-Chinese trade at $8 billion (€6.15 bn) within 5 years from 2011. He noted that the “first 10 months of 2011, Greek exports to China grew 83.5%.

The diplomat said there was a sense that “whatever China buys its price rises while everything that sells its price falls”. In the case of Greek wine, oil and marble this rule should also apply because China wants Greek farmers and producers to have more economic benefits, he said.

Asked by EurActiv.gr about the recent massive downgrade of 8 members of the eurozone by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s, the Ambassador expressed criticism as to the agencies’ “irresponsibility”.

“Most of the times the Chinese economy is at the mercy of these rating agencies […] decisions that are taken sometimes lack the sense of responsibility regarding the global economy.”

He noted that China has recently established its own rating agency, called “Dagong” which predicted the American downgrade 2 months ago: “Our agency is most of the time a credible source in its forecasts, at least it is far more responsible,” he said.

Original article

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