The future of Sino-Greek relations will highly depend on the course of the privatisation of the Piraeus Port. China has clearly communicated to Greece that COSCO is the ‘head of the dragon’ in its investment policy in Greece in the framework of the revitalisation of the ancient Silk Road. COSCO’s potential expansion in Piraeus is one of the reasons why the country was highly concerned about the risk of a Grexit. This said the Chinese company – along with APM Terminals and International Container Terminal Services – will submit their final offers in the coming weeks to buy the Piraeus Port Authority. The stake to be sold will be either 67,5 percent or 51 percent with a remaining 16,5 percent to be sold at a later stage. If this privatisation proceeds, China will possibly invest in freight zones in the region as well as in the modernisation of the ship repair zone located near the port, in Perama.
As far as the Greek national interest is concerned, Athens does not only consider the sale of the Piraeus Port Authority as an obligation in the context of the third bailout. By contrast, it seeks to combine the receipt of payment with additional benefits for its national economy. This strategy has three pillars: First, the launch of additional investments by China not only around the port of Piraeus but also in other areas such a construction and real estate. Second, the increase of Chinese imports of Greek products. And third, the significant rise of Chinese tourists visiting Greece. Since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2009 Beijing has already shown an interest in the afore-mentioned pillars and is prepared to discuss them with the Greek government. In this context, Sino-Greek relations will deepen and a win-win co-operation model can be practically achieved.