ATHENS - Greek-Chinese trade relations will expand further as Greece is gearing up to participate in the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), to be held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, Greek officials and business representatives told Xinhua recently.
Greece's participation in the upcoming event aimed at promoting world trade will be its first physical presence in an exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, according to Enterprise Greece, the official trade and investment promotion agency of Greece.
"The CIIE is a very important initiative for the world ... It is a symbol of China's growing leadership in world trade, as well as an answer to rising trade protectionism internationally," said Betty Alexandropoulou, executive director of Enterprise Greece.
As Greek delegates are preparing to head for Shanghai, they are hoping to build on the significant results of last year's participation.
"We expect Greek-Chinese trade relations to expand further. The CIIE is an important showcase for Greek exporters to show what they have to offer the Chinese market," Alexandropoulou said.
Greece's participation in the second CIIE was a banner event for its exporters, as it was an honored country in the exhibition, she said.
Besides swarms of visitors flocking to the Greek pavilion, a high-level business forum attracted more than 150 Chinese companies to engage with a large delegation of Greek companies spanning a variety of sectors from food and beverage to building materials, pharmaceuticals, ICT, maritime equipment and logistics among others, the official said.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Alexandropoulou expects the international focus will be on healthcare and digital tools this time around. With a strong life sciences sector and excellent human resources, she believes, Greece is bound to have more bilateral cooperation with China.
"We naturally welcome the Chinese emphasis on international trading partnerships and share the commitment to maintaining vigorous international cooperation," Alexandropoulou said.
Greek business representatives participating in this year's CIIE share the same view on prospects for wider and deeper cooperation at the upcoming event.
"Our industry was seriously hit by COVID-19. We hope that the CIIE will give us a head-start. China is an important market for us," said Elena Apostolidou, export manager of Ktima Pavlidis, a producer of premium wines in northern Greece, which has been exporting wines to China since 2015.
"Exhibiting last year allowed us to interact with professionals and potential clients from different sectors. The fair helped us enhance brand awareness not only in China, but also in other Asian countries," she said.
For Hellas Group, a group of major Greek trade companies in China, this year marks its third participation in the exhibition.
"An expo of such magnitude is the best way for us not only to introduce our products to the Chinese market, but at the same time to share and promote our own culture through their quality, history and uniqueness," said Takis Skolarikis, vice president of the trade group.
Constantinos Liakos, general manager of Hellenic Agora Trading Ltd, a Shenzhen-based company which imports and distributes Greek products such as wine, spirits and extra virgin olive oil in China, will also appear at the CIIE for the third time.
"The CIIE can contribute to the world's economy and trade by giving more opportunities for commercial cooperation," he said, hoping to make more retail sales, promote e-commerce platforms and new products, and reach more commercial agreements during the event.