JIS News

My visit here, though brief, has given me the opportunity to witness first hand the marvelous developments that are taking place in China. I cannot believe that Shanghai is the same city that I visited seven years ago. I am impressed with the growth and obvious signs of prosperity in all the areas that I have visited.
I am grateful for the warm and gracious hospitality afforded me and my delegation by the Government and people of China.
Jamaica and China are old friends. If the bonds of friendship are to be strengthened, it must be nurtured and every once in a while, old friends renew the vows of friendship. Jamaica/ China relations have entered a new era and I look forward to an exciting relationship. The Chinese delegation that visited Jamaica in February signaled a new beginning in the diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries. My visit here serves to confirm our intention and commitment to enter this new phase in the relationship.
I arrived in China immediately after concluding the G77 and China Summit in Doha over which I presided and of which Jamaica is Chair. The outcomes of that meeting have implications for developing nations and for every one in this room. A key development in the Doha Agreement is to strengthen South/South Corporation. The countries of the developing world share a common cause, the elimination of poverty. We are all seeking to have an equal and respected voice in the international arena. That will become a reality only if we speak always in unison and if we help each other to achieve prosperity for peoples of the developing world.
After meeting with your Premier, Mr. Wen Jiabao, President Hu Jintao and Chairman Wu Bangguo, I am confident that the future of our peoples is secure.
They have expressed a strong agreement for deeper South/South relations and they recognize that China has a key role to play in this regard.
During this visit, Jamaica and China have signed five bi-lateral agreements covering areas such as education, transportation, mining and technical cooperation. The Government has also expressed an interest in tourism investment opportunities.
A cooperation agreement was signed between Jamaican bauxite interests and China Minmetals Corporation. Minmetals will undertake a study that will provide them with the necessary information to establish a bauxite mining and alumina refinery in Jamaica. This refinery will produce 1.4 million tones per annum of alumina capacity.
The railway was established in Jamaica before any other country in the Western Hemisphere including the United States of America and Canada. We signed an agreement that will result in the rehabilitation of the railway in Jamaica. A team of Chinese railway experts will come to Jamaica before the end of June to carry out site survey and exchange ideas with us on the project.
It may appear that because Jamaica has a population of only 2.7 million people, which is miniscule, compared to China’s, you would not achieve economies of scale in your operations. However, when you invest in Jamaica, you are investing in a single economic space under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME). Jamaica now has approved destination status for Chinese travelers and we would be content with just 0.5% of Chinese travelers.
Jamaica is the gateway to the Caribbean with a market penetration of over 14 million consumers. We are also the gateway to North and South American markets because of our geographic location. In short, when you come to Jamaica, you are in the major markets of the western world.
Before we leave here, Jamaica and China will sign an agreement to facilitate business travel. Both countries will issue multiple entry visas for business travel between the two countries.
As business people, you may be concerned about the security of your investments. While not experiencing your spectacular growth, Jamaica is enjoying economic stability.
The Jamaican Stock Market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Recently I rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.
Our international bonds are trading at premium rates
The Net International Reserves are enough to fund over six months of the country’s imports.
Our financial sector is well regulated, and our legal system facilitates business.
Over the last 10 years, we undertook a massive infrastructural development that is remarkable enough to make a significant contribution to other areas of development in the country.
Our ports are the best in the region and rated among the best in the world.
Jamaica is the ICT centre for the Caribbean with a wireless penetration of over 80%.
The country intends to be the Business Process Outsourcing centre in the Western Hemisphere.
We want you to help us to achieve this objective.
When I look at the developments in Shanghai, they remind me of the investments that are taking place in our second city Montego Bay. We want that city to be an international business centre. This city now has first world infrastructure in place, including a hub at the airport which provides easy connections to destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and North America. It is ideal for connections to Central and South America.
We are expanding the port in Montego Bay to facilitate the expansion of the cruise line industry.
I think that Montego Bay is ripe for investments. We could benefit from what Mr. Wu Bangguo describes as your scientific approach to economic development. I have seen evidence of this in Shanghai and would like to explore with you how we could benchmark this approach in the development of our country, including specifically, Montego Bay.
There are many business opportunities that you can begin to explore with JAMPRO. I am sure that they will make the information available to you. After seeing what your city has to offer, I think that the time has come for us to document the history of the Chinese in Jamaica from the time the first settlers came over 150 years ago. The construction of China Town in one of our oldest commercial districts in downtown Kingston, which is dominated by the Chinese is one of the investment opportunities that should be of interest to you. As business people you have a great opportunity to help us shape the destiny of our peoples.
Despite our disparity in size we have shown that big and small can work together to eliminate poverty and achieve prosperity for the developing world. As I said to your counterparts in Beijing on Monday, Jamaica is open for business and you have an open invitation to come and invest
We are entering a partnership that will benefit both China and Jamaica. Both countries have a sound foundation of diplomatic and economic relations that have served us well in trade, business and investments. The time has come for China and Jamaica, two of the most influential countries in the developing world, to forge a common partnership for prosperity.
You have the world number one hurdler. We have the fastest man alive. Together, we can overcome any hurdle in record time. The clock is ticking. Let us burst the tape ahead.