China-Caribbean Trade Fair and Forum – A Big Deal


Lyndon Williams, one of the Directors of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, has said that the upcoming China-Caribbean Economic Forum and Trade Fair was a very “big deal”, as it was not everyday that a high-level delegation took such a keen interest in the region.
He was referring to the size and scope of the delegation from China that will be attending the event, which is scheduled for Kingston from February 2 to 5.
“This signal from the People’s Republic of China should be taken very seriously…the potential investments to enter top markets and distribution potential that awaits us, is enormous. There are potential opportunities that can touch every aspect of our business community,” Mr. Williams told the over 100 businesspersons, who attended this morning’s (Jan.13) second Sensitisation Seminar and Workshop, which was held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
Mr. Williams also encouraged the group to get involved and participate in the Trade Fair and Forum. “We at the Chamber have been encouraging our members to register for this Trade Fair and we also encourage the wider business community to do so… get sensitised, remember some of the Chinese phrases, get to like some of the Chinese delicacies but most importantly, get ready for business,” he stressed.
Robert Stephens, Chairman of the China-Caribbean Trade Fair Planning Committee, reminded the businesspersons that scores of Chinese businessmen were preparing to come to Jamaica in February to seek partners, and it was critical that the Jamaican business community learnt as much about them before they got here.
Continuing, he entreated the audience to learn more about Chinese customs, business practices and other cultural aspects of China to facilitate better business relations.
Mr. Stephens also encouraged the businesspersons to examine themselves and ensure that they were up to the required standard to do business with the Chinese, as they would be seeking persons of a certain calibre.
“These people treasure credibility…it is very important that they deal with people that are credible as well as people that have integrity. They believe in hard work and thrift. They like people who are modest and are looking to establish long-term partnerships, and in fact, most of them are introverts. They also believe in small profits but quick turnover,” Mr. Stephens explained.
Nigel Grant, Vice President of Marketing at the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), one of the major sponsors of the event, told the businesspersons about his company’s involvement in the Trade fair and Forum.
“One of the characteristics of our business is that we sell a lot of electricity in small blocks to our residential customers. We don’t have a lot of the industrial load that is in the country and we see the growth of more manufacturing partnerships through this China-Jamaica effort, as part of improving our load profile and enabling us to get to one of the major issues that I think faces our customers right now (which is), the cost of electricity derived from largely petroleum fuel,” Mr. Grant informed the businesspeople.
In fact, the JPSCo Vice President spoke to his company’s intention to, over the next five years, move away from petroleum and find another material for generating fuel – whether it is liquefied natural gas or charcoal.
“We are very interested in those Chinese firms that will be here, that are involved in power generation, because we know their track record in terms of developing coal plants,” he added.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has also been fully supportive of the initiative to connect with China. PSOJ Executive Director, Lola Fong-Wright said that the trade fair and forum was a signature event in the organization’s trade calendar.
“I think it serves to reinforce that Jamaica is really a strong trading country and the extent to which we can foster strong trading relationships and build up strong trading ties, is part of what would move us forward to be a force to reckon with in this era or globalisation and trading,” she stated.
“Not only will this event serve to enhance our trade relations, but we think that this will serve to improve general relations with China,” she continued.
Businesspersons from various sectors including tourism, shipping, manufacturing, trade, information and computer technology, attended today’s sensitisation seminar, which is part of the country’s preparation for the upcoming China-Caribbean Economic Cooperation Forum and Trade Fair.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy, and the Port Authority of Jamaica.

JIS Social