Editorial

China-Latin America and Caribbean Expo the place to be

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

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It is not very often that Jamaica and other countries in the English-speaking Caribbean get a chance to put their goods, services and culture on display at a major exposition in a huge market overseas.

For this reason we welcome the China-Latin America and Caribbean International Expo scheduled for November 9 to 11 in China, the world's largest and fastest-growing market.

According to organisers, the three-day event is expected to attract up to 500 enterprises and more than 40,000 visitors. The venue, they add, will also serve as a platform for bilateral cultural and tourism exchanges, as well as cooperation in technology, cross-border e-commerce, and modern commercial service.

This, we hold, is a great opportunity for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) because, in addition to the Chinese market, the expo will give participants a chance to explore the Latin American market, which itself is massive and is largely untapped by our manufacturers here in Caricom.

We assume that, locally, Jampro, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, and the ministries of foreign trade; industry and commerce; culture and tourism have already made the necessary preparations to participate in this expo, because, as we all know, promotion in the field has the potential to reap huge benefits. Plus, meeting face to face with potential customers often offers better advantages than communicating via the use of technology.

China has listed Latin America and the Caribbean as a natural extension of its 21st century Maritime Silk Road project. Indeed, China has stated that it is ready to strengthen cooperation with the region by bringing about a strategic connection and promoting common development within the framework of President Xi Jinping's 'Belt and Road' initiative, with a view to creating a community of shared destiny.

That the expo is being held at Zhuhai International Convention and Exhibition Center in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, makes it even more attractive as the area is the core city on the west bank of the Pearl River Estuary and a major transportation hub in China.

Zhuhai, according to expo organisers, is one of the four earliest special economic zones in China and has become an important platform for China's comprehensive cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean.

In fact, Guangdong Province is the largest in China in terms of economic aggregate and foreign trade. In 2016, the total import and export volume of the province with Latin America and the Caribbean stood at US$33.65 billion, which was a sixth of the Chinese national total.

That is not an achievement to sneeze at. Indeed, it is one that we hope will increase, with Jamaica earning its fair share because that is the type of activity that can make a positive contribution to our economy.

Also, participation in this exposition will further assist us to continue building bridges of cooperation, friendship, and common development.

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