1. This Honourable House is aware that I led a delegation on an official visit to the People’s Republic of China during the period 20th – 25thAugust 2013.
2. Minister Omar Davies will be making a statement in this Honourable House this afternoon on the issues concerning Goat Island and the mega project involving a trans-shipment port and other industrial facilities.
3. During my official visit to China, I had separate meetings with the President of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi Jinping, the Premier, Premier Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the National Congress, Chairman Zhang Dejiang. At all of these meetings, relations were most cordial, with a full appreciation on both sides of the strong ties between the two countries, through migration, international cooperation, history, trade and investment. Jamaica’s unwavering commitment to the “One China Policy” was a common feature during these meetings.
4. Meetings were also held with senior representatives from COMPLANT, China Communications Construction Company, China Harbour Engineering Company, China Gezhouba (Group) Company, Sinohydro, the China Development Bank and the Shanghai Municipal Council.
The Chief Executive Officers of these companies and the Mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Council all welcomed me to China and stated their intention to work for the benefit of both peoples.
The President of Sinohydro expressed a deep interest in the Harmony Cove Project as well as interest in a large-scale water supply project for the Kingston Metropolitan Region.
The representatives from the China Gezhouba (Group) Corporation (CGGC) stated their desire to invest in potable water and sewerage sectors in the western region and other parishes as well as in electricity power generation.
CGGC is a large state-owned enterprise with a focus on contracting projects in water, hydropower, and highways among other areas.
CGGC was the major contractor on the Yangtze River Three Gorges Dam Project which stands as the world’s largest water conservancy project.
The Chairman and President of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) introduced his company as the largest port equipment manufacturer in the world.
CCCC is not only a leading company in road and bridge construction, it is also the second largest dredging company in the world in terms of dredging capacity.
He was pleased to indicate that their first international investment project was in Jamaica through the North/South leg of Highway 2000 project.
The President gave assurances that projects undertaken by CCCC would be completed in good time, on schedule, and with good quality.
We discussed other major investment opportunities including the development of a trans-shipment port with related and supporting infrastructure, assembly plant, and a steel fabrication plant.
CCCC was also pleased to refer to the opening of their regional office in Jamaica as a strong signal of their interest in Jamaica.
The China Development Bank (CDB) expressed appreciation for the high levels of support and collaboration between the bank and the Government of Jamaica.
The CDB President signaled the importance of Jamaica as a trading partner and affirmed that Jamaica is a priority focus for the bank.
He made reference to CDB’s support of the North/South leg of Highway 2000 project which has an overall value of US$601 million.
The North/South Highway project is being financed by a loan of US$457 million from the CDB and a further $144 million in equity investment from the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
The CDB President also signaled broad support for the Harmony Cove project and outlined plans relating to hydro-electricity generation in Jamaica.
The China Development Bank, in conjunction with the relevant authorities in Jamaica, is already working on the process of developing strategic plans for eco-tourism in Jamaica as part of the broader plan to diversify Jamaica’s tourism product.
In delivering an address to the Business Forum hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), I welcomed the collaboration from the Chinese Community and encouraged the Chinese business sector to develop partnerships with Jamaican firms and entities in the many and varying opportunities available in Jamaica.
In other meetings, Jamaican Ministers and officials met with their Chinese counterparts in support of the proposals, agreements and decisions arising from the high level discussions which I had initiated.
5. As a result of the visit, the following specific agreements were arrived at and signed:
· The Construction of two Early Childhood Institutions; one in Kingston and the other in St. Thomas, namely the Tower Hill Infant School and the Morant Estate Infant School.
· The Expansion of the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies.
The preparation of a feasibility study on the project – ‘Teaching and Building of the Confucius Institute on the Mona Campus, University of the West Indies’.
This study would be funded under an Agreement signed in 2005.
If the project proves feasible, a specific supplementary agreement will be signed between both Governments.
· An increased Economic and Technical Agreement Grant for One Hundred Million Renminbi Yuan (RMB¥ 100,000,000); or US$16 million to be used for development projects to be identified and mutually agreed between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
· A Loan of US$300 million for the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) by the China Export-Import Bank (China Ex-Im Bank) which has a total value of US$350 million.
The Government of Jamaica will contribute US$50 million in counterpart resources to this project.
6. I draw attention to some other matters:
· Forty scholarships are being offered by the Chinese Government to Jamaican students in each of the next three years specifically in the field of health.
· President Xi gave a commitment to continue to encourage well- established and reputable Chinese entities to do business in Jamaica and ensure greater transfer of technology and sharing of experience to enhance Jamaica’s development.
7. It should be noted that:
· China warmly accepted the offer by Jamaica of ten (10) scholarships to Chinese athletes, administrators and coaches tenable at the G. C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.
· The Chinese authorities welcomed the bilateral initiatives being undertaken to facilitate both tourist visitors to Jamaica and business travel between the two countries.
· The House may be interested to note that China boasted over 83 million tourists in 2012 and it would be good for Jamaica to attract some of these tourists to our shores.
· Apart from the satisfactory bilateral discussions, we received strong support for international acceptance of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in relation to Small Island Developing States many of which are to be found in the CARICOM Community.
· We also received support from the Chinese Government for international recognition of the needs of Highly Indebted Middle Income Developing Countries like Jamaica.
8. In relation to all of the identified projects, stakeholder consultation will begin shortly to ensure that there is full understanding of the scale, scope, benefits and implications of what is contemplated, and that the interests of the people of Jamaica are protected at all stages of project and programme development.