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Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese companies may invest more in Greece this year than the approximately 100 million euros ($137 million) they spent in 2010, said the chairman of the Greek agency charged with attracting foreign investors.
“The opportunity is much bigger in a country with financial problems than in a country without,” Aristomenis M. Syngros, executive chairman of Invest in Greece, said today in an interview in Beijing. “You can see it in China 15 years ago.” He didn’t give a figure for Chinese investment.
Greece’s economy may contract for a fifth year in 2012, according to the nation’s draft budget that forecasts gross domestic product falling by 2.5 percent next year after declining 5.5 percent in 2011. The rate of unemployment in the nation rose to a record 16.3 percent in the second quarter after the government’s imposed austerity measures to secure aid for repaying debt.
China is one of Greece’s biggest “allies,” Syngros said. “We have seen growing interest from Chinese investors,” he said. Chinese investments have gone to Greek industries including renewable energy, tourism, transportation and logistics, and food and beverages, Syngros said.
Jia Qinglin, a member of China’s top decision-making body, visited Greece last month with 40 Chinese entrepreneurs who were seeking investment opportunities, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bilateral trade increased 18.4 percent in 2010 to $4.35 billion, Xinhua reported. Jia is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
China and Greece signed an economic cooperation memorandum during Jia’s visit, the state-run Athens News Agency reported. Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhong Shan said China was interested in importing goods from Greece including marble, olive oil and wine and in investments in energy, ports and infrastructure projects, ANA reported.
--Penny Peng. Editors: Bloomberg News, Allen Wan
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