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By Alicia Dells
Having already established a relationship of friendship, cooperation and mutual respect over the past 35 years, the government of Barbados is moving towards further enhancing this relationship and expanding commercial ties with the People’s Republic of China.
This is according to Acting Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, who said that Prime Minister David Thompson is scheduled to meet with investors in China next month to discuss opportunities for foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment.
Speaking during a reception at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre last Friday evening to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the acting prime minister acknowledged that the framework already exists for an enhanced partnership between both countries, given the number of important bilateral arrangements that they share in relation to air services, tourism, investment and technical cooperation and double taxation.֧
“Barbados is appreciative of the role that China has played and continues to play in the social and economic development of our country. China continues to assist us with grant funds and concessionary financing for construction and development projects. We look forward to working with technicians from China in restoring the Empire Theatre and
in redeveloping the Fairchild Street Market and the National Stadium. We also look forward to participating in the Shanghai Expo next year,” Stuart told an audience comprising other ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the honorary consular corps.
The acting Prime Minister added that Barbados looks forward to welcoming the Guangdong Art Troupe to the island next month and noted that Barbados was keen on having a Confucius Institute for the teaching of Mandarin and Chinese history
at the UWI Cave Hill Campus in the near future.
Stuart contended that as a developing country with “rising importance in the global arena”, China is well poised to articulate, support and defend the concerns of developing countries and therefore, Barbados welcomes the opportunity to work with China to promote the interests of the developing world.
Stuart, who was also acting as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, extended congratulations on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados to the People’s Republic of China on reaching such a milestone.
Meanwhile, China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Wei Qiang, said that the good relationship that China and Barbados have maintained over the years, has been instrumental in accelerating the development of both countries. He noted that despite geographical and cultural barriers, as developing countries, China and Barbados share a lot of common interests, with the main one being “peaceful development”.
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to its ties with Barbados and looks forward to their further strengthening and progress for the benefit of our peoples,” he remarked.
Acknowledging that the world is “inter-linked”, Ambassador Wei noted that as China moves towards realising its development goals, they recognise the need for enhanced co-operation with other countries.
“We are fully aware that, under current international circumstances, the national interests of different countries are closely inter-linked and inter-dependent with each other and no country, including China,
will be able to seize opportunities, overcome challenges and pursue development unless it strengthens and expands co-operation with other countries and work hand in hand for a shared development, in a spirit of harmony and win-win result seeking. That’s why peace, development and co-operation constitute the long-term purpose and task of China’s foreign policy,” the Chinese ambassador explained.