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January 28, 2010

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Bond of maritime commerce

AS mayor of Shanghai's sister city Piraeus, I congratulate all the people who have worked so hard on World Expo 2010 Shanghai. This World Expo symbolizes the heart of world trade. It will also be a showcase of the progress of the Chinese economy.

Shanghai, as host of this upcoming World Expo, will have the opportunity to further commerce with major Asian markets, and indeed, with businesses across the world. Cooperation with other countries promotes economic development and sharpens healthy competition.

In June 1985, Piraeus and Shanghai were officially bonded as sister cities, ushering in an era of governmental, industrial and trade delegations.

Our city is the most important port in Greece, a trade and export hub in southeastern Europe and a major gateway to the Mediterranean Sea.

Piraeus is home to hundreds of marine shipping companies. With thousands of vessels sailing across every ocean in the world, these maritime fleets have positioned Greece as a leader in global shipping. It is worth noting that our country has increased the number of ships ordered to be built in China.

Piraeus is also home to subsidiaries of London-based companies, financial and technical consulting firms, insurance, leasing, marketing and inspection companies, and corporations involved with high-end ship-fitting and maritime guidance systems.

As the third-largest city in Greece, Piraeus has a university with high European standards, where students can finish the primary, secondary and tertiary phases of study in marine shipping and economics.

Common grounds

Our two countries' common ground in culture and centuries-old history has closely bonded us together.

Piraeus has faced up to the challenges of globalization. Thanks to modernization of port infrastructure's built-in harmony with our overall urban design, we have made progress in upgrading our existing facilities for port services.

This age has driven us to seek new avenues of cooperation and participate in coordinated action to address global issues and common challenges.

In Piraeus, active efforts are being made to study the city's exciting prospects and improve the living quality of our people.

The government and residents of Piraeus have been trying to improve the quality of life and present visitors with new urban images. The city has built children's gardens and parks, founded eco-climate schools, implemented urban greenery strategies approved by national authorities, created a public aviation network, and modernized public transport. The result is a bright new look for the city.

The development prospects for such sectors as maritime shipping, shipbuilding, tourism, green energy and environmental protection gain ground with all these projects.

We are trying to attract investment related to high-quality, applied and advanced technologies. We have focused on our strengths, such as marine shipping, and also sought to improve humanistic resources such as modern marketing.

Everything is evolving with an outward emphasis in response to the requirements of our modern age. Our aim is to build Piraeus into a maritime shipping center of the highest standards. Our city is able and willing to move ahead.

I wish great success to World Expo 2010 Shanghai.


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