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China Honors Greece at 18th International Beverages Expo

Traditional Greek ouzo
China honors Greece at the 18th China International Beverages Expo. Photo: ‘Traditional Greek ouzo.’ Credit: Dimitra Tzanos / Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

China will honor Greece in April at its 18th China International Beverages Expo (CIIE) held in the city of Luzhou. It will be the second time they have done so, the first being in 2019.

Greece is a comprehensive strategic partner of China, according to Enterprise Greece, the official investment and trade agency of the Greek state. In 2019, Marinos Giannopoulos, CEO of Enterprise Greece, highlighted the importance of the trade relations between the two nations and the large role played by The China International Imports Expo whilst speaking to China Today.

“For Greek exporters, China’s fast-evolving economy remains a priority market, and our growing bilateral trade underpins the longstanding commercial relationship between our two countries,” he said.

‘Greek Gold’

China and Greece’s diplomatic and trade relations have quickened in recent years due to what Enterprise Greece described as ‘Greek Gold.’ Greece is also what the CEO called the “pearl in the Mediterranean and Europe’s largest urban redevelopment project.”

“Greek companies have been present at CIIE since its inception,” Giannopoulos explained. “And year by year, their presence in the Chinese market is growing. Chinese consumers are particularly interested in Greek food and also wine, a sector where Greek exporters are well established worldwide.”

Marinos Giannopoulos, CEO Enterprise Greece.
Marinos Giannopoulos, CEO Enterprise Greece. Credit: Enterprise Greece

Greek exporters have likewise benefited from such strong, commercial relations.

Giannopoulos said that “for Greek exporters, CIIE is an important showcase for their products and services, which has helped boost the bilateral trade to US $12.15 billion in 2021, making China Greece’s third largest trading partner in the world. This is phenomenal growth in our bilateral trade relations, when you consider that back in the 1990s, that volume was less than US $100 million.”

A long-term relationship

Greece has participated at the CIIE since it was launched in 2018. According to Giannopoulos, the reasons for having done so are multifold.

“Both Greece and China are committed to a free and open global trading system and share a vision of sustainable prosperity for our peoples and for the world,” he stated. “China was the guest of honor at the largest Greek trade fair, the Thessaloniki International Fair, in 2017, and the two countries have also had extensive cultural exchanges over the years.”

CIIE International Exhibition Hall.
CIIE International Exhibition Hall. Credit: N509FZ, CC-BY-SA-4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

“Prime Minister Mitsotakis visited China during the second CIIE, when Greece had the distinction of being the guest of honor,” he added. “He brought a large trade delegation and engaged in high-level talks. It was an important step in the growth of our trade cooperation with China.”

According to the head of the organization, that is because “we value important trade events like the CIIE to promote Greek exports to the global market,” he said. “It gives our exporters an opportunity to expand their market reach, not only in China itself, but to Asia as a whole.”

China honors Greece a second time

The China International Beverages Expo brings together exhibitors from around the world. At its inception in 2018, more than 1,200 companies with over five thousand products attended the event. Visitors totaled more than three million.

The revenue generated is also significant, with agreements of up to five million euros exchanging hands.

Greece’s motto was “a culture to share” in 2019. The focus was Greek food and beverages, and more than twenty-six business from the Food and Beverages industry participated. Greek Prime Minister Mistotakis also visited.

Greek food
Orzotto by Giorgio Pintzas Monzani. Credit: Nicole Stefanoli

The Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Greek Embassy has coordinated Greece’s participation.

Evgenios Kalypris, the ambassador of Greece in Beijing, met with some of the organization’s representatives and a Chinese delegation from the municipality of Luzhou at the embassy to cement their cooperative relationship to that end.

“The exhibition, beyond its sectoral interest, is a multi-level event that offers the possibility of exchanges and collaborations in other sectors as well, such as tourism and culture,” he stated.

The main objective this year will be “to take advantage…of the dynamic Greek presence to create relations and strengthen human ties with the Chinese producers and professionals, but also the ordinary citizens of Western China.”

Travelers from China can still enter Greece as well, despite the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in the country. There will also now be direct flights from Shanghai to Athens.

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