Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the Association of Jamaicans in China will continue to be leveraged as an outreach mechanism, which complements the Diplomatic Mission, to serve nationals residing in the Asian country.
This is in addition to the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, which Senator Johnson Smith said is “a tool for deeper engagement with our Diaspora… beyond our traditional locations.”
She was speaking during a digital Town Hall Meeting, hosted by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, which formed part of the two-day virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium, from June 16-17.
She pointed out that the Association of Jamaicans in China was initiated by the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Asia-Pacific Region Representative, Dr. Nicoleen Johnson.
Senator Johnson Smith said the body provided “fantastic support” in liaising with students, teachers and other members of the Diaspora community during the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China, prior to the first locally-confirmed case on March 10, 2020.
She advised that Dr. Johnson will liaise with representatives of Jamaica’s Mission in China to create additional links, “because we are seeking to deepen our [bilateral] relationship.”
“She will continue to do the work in respect of trade… certainly in respect of bauxite export for aluminum. [As] you know, Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company Limited (JISCO) started operations here and upgraded our plant [at ALPART in St. Elizabeth]. That alone had doubled the trade outflows between Jamaica and China,” the Minister pointed out.
Additionally, Senator Johnson Smith said Jamaica is now exporting live and frozen lobster to China, noting that Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, and Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, were instrumental in initiating that undertaking.
She said they had also been pivotal in piloting arrangements for the exportation of sea cucumbers and other seafoods, noting that these were “delicacies and niches that Jamaica can provide in amounts which, while small in the Chinese context [based on that country’s size], are of significant impact to our trade balance.”