PM Opens China-Caribbean Trade Forum


The much anticipated China-Caribbean Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum 2005 got underway today (Feb. 2) at the Jamaica Conference Centre with Prime Minister P.J. Patterson declaring the event open.
The Forum, which was attended by a large Chinese delegation led by Vice President His Excellency Zeng Qinghong, and heads of state and heads of government from across the region, also saw the signing of the Guiding Framework for Economic and Trade Cooperation as well as the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) granting approved destination status to 11 Caribbean countries, which have diplomatic ties with China. Prime Minister Patterson, in his address at the opening, noted that China’s granting of approved destination status to the majority of the countries in the region provided an exciting opportunity to offer the Caribbean as a complete multi-destination package to the large Chinese market.
In addition, he pointed out that an increasing number of Caribbean countries have now become committed to the ‘One China Policy’ and were active participants in the mutually beneficial cooperation programmes. China enjoys diplomatic relations with 11 Caribbean countries, the most recent being Grenada. “All 16 countries and non-sovereign territories of the Caribbean are engaged with China through some form of economic and trade relationship,” he stated.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to commend China for its continued outreach to Latin American and the Caribbean, and China’s desire, through the Forum, to further enhance cooperation for the welfare of the people of the region.
“The enhanced linkages promised by this Forum in the area of technical and economic cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Caribbean cannot be overstated,” Mr. Patterson said.
As it regards human resource development, which was one of the critical components of the Forum, Prime Minister Patterson noted the importance the region’s governments placed on people-centred development. “We are determined to provide the requisite education and training of our workforce so as to improve our productivity through the application of scientific and technological innovations,” he stated.
The Prime Minister observed that in today’s globalised economy, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were more vulnerable than ever before, but expressed confidence that the mechanism provided by the Forum, would open up new avenues for employing cutting edge technology “to the diversification of our economies and the exploitation of our natural resources.”
“This Forum represents a practical and far-sighted approach on how we handle the challenges of globalisation and develop initiatives to further address our concerns and vulnerabilities as Small States”, he stated further.
Jamaica joins with 39 nations that now recognize China as a market economy within the definition and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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