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China-Caribbean ties for development and progress
2010-02-03
Brief:China-Caribbean ties for development and progress

The international financial crisis has served to remind us that in today's integrated global economy, no country can be truly insulated from the impact of international financial and economic shocks. This is certainly the case for small, open developing economies including the countries of the Caribbean Community. States in the Caribbean, including my own country Jamaica, are now making a determined effort to turn the crisis of the financial and economic recession into an opportunity for renewed growth and development.

Cooperation between the Caribbean and China will play an important role in the efforts to achieve renewed growth and development in the Caribbean region. Already, significant cooperation programs in infrastructure development, human resources development and trade in goods and services have made the Caribbean/ China relationship one of the most important partnerships for many Caribbean countries.

Our partnership has grown and developed, not by accident but through deliberate steps taken by both sides to develop and expand the relationship in all areas, based on a foundation of solid friendship and mutual respect. Initiatives such as the China/Caribbean Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, inaugurated in Kingston Jamaica in 2005, have helped to deepen the relationship between China and the Caribbean region. So have the many exchanges of high level visits and the practical cooperation programs and development projects that have been undertaken over the past several years. China has been an important member of our regional development Bank (Caribbean Development Bank).

We are confident that China's membership in this vital regional institution, as well as its recent entry into the Inter-American Development Bank, will auger well for deeper financial and economic cooperation between China and our region.

The wider Latin America and Caribbean Region, with a population of 568 million people and a combined GDP of $3.6 trillion is an important trade and economic partner for China. Already, China's trade with the Caribbean and Latin America is approaching one trillion RMB.

The importance of the China-Latin America and Caribbean relationship is reflected in China's Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean, which commits China to "sound, steady and all round growth" of its relations with our region. This commitment is most timely as the region moves to deepen cooperation and integration across South and Central America and the Caribbean.

At the Bahia Summit, hosted by the President of Brazil in 2008, Leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean committed themselves to strengthen regional integration and promote sustainable development.

The dialogue on these goals has been advanced by the Ministerial follow-up held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in November 2009. Latin America and the Caribbean is awakening to its vast potential to promote integrated development and growth, in cooperation with China and other international partners who share the region's commitment to integration and development.

We welcome China's enhanced role in the International Financial Institutions and are confident of its sensitivity to the concerns of developing countries, large and small, which share many common interests and face similar challenges in the international financial and economic system.

We are confident that at the upcoming G20 meeting scheduled for June 2010 in Canada, China will be mindful of the challenges faced by small developing countries including those affecting highly indebted middle-income countries.
As a leading developing country, China plays an important role in bridging the gap between developed and developing countries, especially the smaller and more vulnerable ones.

This is reflected in its commitment to strengthen consultation and coordination with Latin American and Caribbean countries in multilateral trade and financial institutions. These consultations will help to promote more effective cooperation among developing countries, which will thus be able to play a more effective role in the governance of international trade and financial affairs.

This role is even more critical as the world grapples with the impact of the financial crisis and the challenges to recovery. We recognize that the crisis had its genesis in developed countries, but has been most devastating to many small vulnerable economies.

China is playing an active and important role in global humanitarian efforts and Jamaica and the countries of the Caribbean recognize this with profound gratitude. The government and people of China have demonstrated their solidarity and have made great sacrifices in providing much needed support to the people of Haiti during the past several years.

This has come at a great price, with the loss of life of members of China's UN support team during the recent earthquake that has devastated our neighboring country. Our thoughts are with their families and the families of the tens of thousands who lost their lives in this catastrophic earthquake.

As we in Jamaica join with our Caribbean neighbors in giving all the support we can to Haiti, we do so encouraged by the selfless commitment of China and other nations across the globe that are fully engaged in the vital task of helping Haiti to recover and rebuild.

China and the Caribbean are now at an important juncture in their partnership. The Caribbean is now seeking to build onto the solid foundation of trade and development cooperation, by attracting substantial investments from Chinese enterprises.

The time is right for Chinese corporations to become more deeply involved in our region as investors and entrepreneurial partners in major economic sectors. Jamaica is encouraging Chinese firms to invest in our country, which is ideally positioned to be a hub for their business outreach in the Americas.

We welcome leading Chinese corporations to look at the opportunities in logistics and shipping, light manufacturing, mining and energy including alternative energy programs, real estate, tourism, entertainment and Information and Communications Technology.

The future of the Caribbean-China partnership is bright and Jamaica is committed to playing an active role in furthering its all round partnership with China.

The author is Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica。


Source: China Daily
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