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Four bi-lateral Agreements were signed between the Governments of Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China in a move designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries. The Agreements were signed on behalf of Jamaica by Dr. the Hon. Paul Robertson, Minister of Development. The signing ceremony took place on Monday (June 20) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China where the Jamaican Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson is on an official visit. It followed a ceremonial reception and 19-gun salute accorded Prime Minister Patterson.
The Agreements cover the areas of bauxite, education, and technical cooperation. A Cooperation Agreement between the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited and China Minmetals Corporation will involve Minmetals undertaking a detailed study to participate in establishing a bauxite mining and alumina refinery facility in Jamaica with a projected 1.4 million tonnes per annum of alumina capacity. Minmetals has already conducted preliminary due diligence and site visits in the country under this Agreement.
In the area of education, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to undertake the development of professional skills in various fields of education, technical assistance for Chinese Language training and to facilitate cooperation between institutions of higher learning in both countries.
Under the five-year renewable Agreement, China will send teaching staff to conduct Chinese Language teaching at the University of the West Indies. Both countries will explore the teaching of Chinese Language courses in Jamaica’s secondary schools.
Additionally, the Chinese Government has given the Jamaican Government Ten Million Renminbi Yuan or approximately US$1.25M in grant aid to be used for the implementation of economic and technical projects under an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement. A portion of this grant money will finance a feasibility study under the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation.
The signing ceremony took place immediately after bi-lateral talks were held between Prime Minister Patterson and Premier Wen Jiabao of the People’s Republic of China. Both leaders explored a number of areas such as tourism, science and technology including telemedicine and other development project ideas for investment and joint venture in the Caribbean.
The Prime Minister’s delegation include members of key State entities such as the Urban Development Corporation, the Port Authority and JAMPRO as well as members of the Jamaican private sector.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister toured Huawei Technologies in Beijing and invited the company to be a part of Jamaica’s thrust to be the Information Technology Centre of the Caribbean. Huawei Technologies employs some 30,000 workers and specializes in research and development an area Mr. Patterson felt would be of interest to universities in Jamaica.
Mr. Patterson’s official visit to the People’s Republic of China ends on Friday June 24, 2005. Mr. Patterson is scheduled to meet with Mr. Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China today.