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China and the Bahamas Sign Three Agreements
Brief:The Governments of The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China signed three agreements on September 4, 2009, to further develop friendly relations and economic and technical cooperation between the two countries.

The Governments of The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China signed three agreements on Friday, September 4, 2009, to further develop friendly relations and economic and technical cooperation between the two countries. 

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham welcomed His Excellency Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China and several members of the Chinese Government before the signing ceremony in the Conference Room of the Cabinet Office in the Churchill Building. 

The agreements are: an investment promotion and protection agreement (to address the conditions for creating, stimulating, encouraging, promoting, improving, and protecting investment by Bahamian and Chinese investors in each other’s country); a framework agreement for the loan through the Chinese Exim Bank for the Airport Highway Project (which follows up on previous steps taken in the development of this project); and, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation directed exclusively toward the construction of the national stadium. 

“We are pleased that you accepted our invitation to come to The Bahamas,” Mr. Ingraham said.  “We are also glad that you included our neighbours Cuba and the United States on the same trip.”  He said The Bahamas and China have deepened their relationship over the past 12 years and that The Bahamas is “very pleased” with the support received from China in international matters. 

“In recent times we have had to call on China and you have graciously acceded to our request to escort our Bahamian registered ships. We are particularly pleased with the stand which you took with the meeting of the G20 in recent times on the question of tax havens,” the Prime Minister said. 

He said The Bahamas looks forward to the support which the Chinese Government is going to provide towards the construction of the highway from the Sir Lynden Pindling Airport to the city centre, which will amount to RMB Yuan 400 million (US58,562,582.52). 

Prime Minister Ingraham also thanked them for the RMB Yuan 50 million (US$7,320,002.81) grant as well as the investment being made to the development of the Cable Beach. 

“We look forward with cautious optimism to the intended investment by Export and Import Bank of China in the development of the resort property on Cable Beach. 

“Tourism matters in The Bahamas. It is an essential part of our economy and the extent to which the Cable Beach strip can be developed will be of immense benefit to the people of The Bahamas. We place a very high priority on the development of that facility,” Prime Minister Ingraham said. 

Chairman Wu said the visits of high ranking Bahamian and Chinese officials to China and The Bahamas have helped to strengthen relations, understanding and mutual trust between the two countries.  “Last year, the trade volume between our two countries reached US$386 million.  Even though the figure is that big the trend of growth is very encouraging,” Chairman Wu said. “That figure is eight times the figure when we established diplomatic ties.”  

Chairman Wu said according to Chinese statistics, The Bahamas’ investment in China amounted to US$1.2 billion.  He said the stadium project is the largest project China has ever assisted with in the Caribbean.  Chairman Wu added that the project duration has been reduced by three months and that the Bahamas Government has asked for the schedule to be moved up by two months in preparation for a sporting event.  “We fully understand the request and demand from your country of advancing the schedule,” he said.  “So let us make joint efforts to realise that goal on the pre-condition of ensuring safety and the quality of the stadium.” 

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette signed the three agreements on behalf of The Bahamas and Vice Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China Madame Ma Xiuhong signed on behalf of China. 

Two agreements were signed by CEO and Chairman of the Baha Mar Project, Sarkis Izmirlian and the Chinese Government for the financing of and investment in the Baha Mar Project.

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