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China visit first step to Greece's investment return

Xinhua

ATHENS - The upcoming visit to China is the first step towards Greece's return to the global investment map beyond Europe, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Monday ahead of his departure for Beijing later this week.

The Greek premier is due to pay an official visit to China on May 15-19 upon an invitation from his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, heading a delegation of 60 Greek ministers and entrepreneurs.

The visit's aim is to further promote bilateral cooperation in several sectors with emphasis on financial ties, as Greece faces a severe debt crisis since late 2009.

"Today we put Greece back on the global investment map, in Europe and beyond Europe. The first step towards this direction is our upcoming trip to China," Samaras said, delivering a speech during the annual meeting of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV).

The Greek leader noted during his address that the attraction of more investments in Greece is one of the keys to the country's rebirth via growth.

In regards to the current state and the prospects of the Greek economy, he appeared confident that Greece is on the path to recovery, will return to international financing markets in 2014 and in three years time will no longer need memorandums.

"We still haven't overcome the danger; we haven't overcome recession and unemployment. However, the country's image has changed, psychology has changed, and major structural reforms and fiscal adjustment bear fruits," he said.

Greece is kept afloat with rescue loans from European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors in exchange for tough austerity and reform measures under bailout deals signed since May 2010.

As Samaras was addressing SEV's meeting, a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels was expected to give the green light for the release of the 4.2 billion euro (5.4 billion US dollars) worth loan installment for the first 2013 quarter and an additional 3.3 billion euro tranche for the second quarter following the positive review of the Greek program. (1 euro= 1.29 US dollars)