China trip was fruitful and productive, Holness says

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China trip was fruitful and productive, Holness says

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night detailed his recent visit to China, which he described as both fruitful and productive, in a statement to the House of Representatives.

He noted that the visit by a team from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), which he led, and one from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Fishing (MICAF)and JAMPRO cost the country approximately US$160,000 (J$22.5 million).

The Prime Minister explained that while the Chinese government covered airfare for himself and his wife and fellow Member of Parliament (MP) Juliet Holness, the OPM team spent US$79,000 on the trip, while MICAF spent US$80,000. The Chinese government also covered the cost of domestic flights and accommodation.

Holness' visit was an official one as Prime Minister of Jamaica, but he was also guest of the Chinese government at their International Import Exposition in Shanghai, at which MICAF and JAMPRO participated.

Holness also met with China's President Xi Jinping in a bilateral meeting in Shanghai, during which the current cooperative framework and plans for additional areas of cooperation with China, which are to be included in a new strategy framework, were discussed.

The Prime Minister visited a “vibrant” Jamaican Diaspora of some 2000, made up primarily of Immigrants and students, in Beijing. He also had strategic meetings to garner interest in areas such as logistics, energy, agriculture and tourism, as well as discussions with China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO), new owners of the Alpart alumina refinery in Nain, St Elizabeth, and construction company, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), and a number of potential investors.

He said that in his discussions with the management of JISCO, he recognised that the company felt that the current closure of the Nain plant was as much a dislocation for their business, as it has been for the affected communities in St Elizabeth.

“It is my assessment that it is the intention of the management of JISCO to speedily reopen the plant…So I sense that there is an urgency to get the plant reopened,” he said about the Alpart refinery, which has been closed for upgrading and modernisation, which could take up to 24 months.

Balford Henry

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