Xi Jinping arrives in Athens – 16 agreements are pending signature

Xi Jinping arrives in Athens – 16 agreements are pending signature

Sixteen agreements will be signed as part of the visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to Greece, according to the briefing provided by Maximos Mansion officials during the visit of the President of China Xi Jinping to Greece.

Apart from COSCO’s expansion projects in Piraeus, the agreements for the export of Greek Saffron (Krokos Kozanis) and kiwi to China stand out. Overall, this is mainly about cooperation protocols and memoranda of understanding with a limited to no actual impact at the moment. The Chinese president’s visit is more symbolic, as it comes at a time when China’s trade war with the US is ongoing, while Washington and Berlin have made it clear to the Greek government that they do not want to see China entering the Greek infrastructure. These messages are the latest to a traditional distrust displayed by the Chinese authorities in any kind of market opening. From the Greek winemakers trying to break into the market since 2006 and Karamanlis’ first visit, they have a lot to say about the bureaucratic obstacles and the cancellation of agreements that hide under the Chinese smiles and protocol signatures. Both the expansion of COSCO and the electrical interconnection of Mainland Greece with Crete, as well as the cooperation for renewable energy production in Crete with MINOS 50MW, are part of the infrastructure projects.

The creation of a China Bank branch in Athens to finance Chinese business ventures and the acquisition of red loans is also important. The sixteen agreements to be signed are:

  1. Treaty on the extradition of wanted persons

The Treaty on extradition promotes effective cooperation in the criminal field and aims at suppressing crime on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty, equality and bilateral benefit. It contains provisions on the purpose, conditions, procedures and other relevant provisions for the extradition of wanted persons.

  1. List of Key Projects within the 2020-2022 Cooperation Framework

These constitute investment projects to which both sides attach particular importance. The signing of the list is a quasi-mandate to the Chinese state-owned companies to consider their participation in them, either in terms of investment or in some other way.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding to promote two-way investment cooperation between the Ministry of Development of Greece and the Ministry of Commerce of China

The existing institutional framework is strengthened and bilateral cooperation, both in the investment sector and in general between the two parties, is further encouraged.

  1. Protocol between the Ministry of Rural Development and Food of Greece and the General Customs Administration of China on the export of saffron

Export of Greek Saffron to the Chinese market, a PDO product of particular importance to the regional economy, will be allowed.

  1. Protocol on the export of kiwi fruit from Greece to China between the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and the General Customs Administration of China

The possibility of exporting Greek kiwi from all parts of the country to the Chinese market is being expanded. So far, only some areas have had this option.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding on Broadcasting, Electronic and Audiovisual Media between the General Secretariat for Communication and Information and the National Broadcasting Authority of China

It aims to enhance bilateral co-operation in the fields of radio, television and electronic audiovisual media and to develop cultural and technological relations between the two countries.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Sports between the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Chinese Federation of People with Disabilities

The goal is to for cooperation to grow between the communities of disabled in the two countries, to coordinate their cooperation on an international level, and to promote initiatives within the international sports federations to exchange experiences, know-how and to combat doping. Also, it aims at strengthening the cooperation of people with disabilities within the framework of international organizations, in order to promote the goal of the Paralympic Movement and human rights in the field of sport.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding between the Airlines of the Hellenic Republic and the People’s Republic of China

It provides, inter alia, for multiple airline appointments, as well as a new Route Schedule, which includes all points of destination on both sides, the possibility of charter flights as well as aircraft leasing when operating routes on agreed routes.

  1. Agreement on the establishment of the Center for Chinese Studies between the Chinese Academy of Social Studies and the Aikaterini Laskarides Foundation

The Chinese Academy of Social Studies, via the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, is set to establish a Center for Chinese Studies to teach Chinese and promote the Chinese culture.

  1. Agreement between the Confucius Institute of China and the University of Thessaly in Greece on the establishment of an annex of the former to the latter

Partnership between the Confucius Institute of China and the University of Thessaly, Greece for the establishment of a branch of the Institute in the Greek University.

  1. Memorandum of Understanding for successful implementation of the COSCO Master Plan in Piraeus

It is officially stated that the two sides intend to overcome any obstacles regarding the realization of COSCO’s investment program in Piraeus Port, which comprises a top priority from the Chinese side.

  1. Announcement for the establishment of a Bank of China branch in Athens

The creation of a Bank of China branch in Athens, the 4th largest bank worldwide, will be announced.

  1. Announcement for the Establishment of a Representative Office of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Athens

The establishment of the ICBC Representative Office in Athens, the world’s largest bank, will be announced.

  1. Agreement for the expression of interest in the project of interconnection of mainland Greece with Crete

The interest of China to participate in the tender for the electrical interconnection of mainland Greece with Crete, which is expected to be announced soon, is expressed in the most formal way.

  1. Cooperation agreement for the realization of the MINOS 50MW project in Crete

The cooperation between the two countries in renewable energy is sealed, as this project ensures the transfer and use of advanced Chinese technology for the production of electricity in Crete, in order to significantly enhance the island’s energy autonomy.

  1. Α set of financing contracts for the construction of projects in the port of Piraeus

This is about the European Investment Bank financing the COSCO investment program using guarantees from the State Export-Import Bank of China. In this way, the European Investment Bank’s support and as a result the EU’s support for this investment is presented in a direct, positive way. /ibna