Jamaica, Malaysia hold preliminary talks on several trade issues

Observer Reporter

Wednesday, May 03, 2006    

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JAMAICA and Malaysia yesterday had preliminary discussions on supplies of liquefied natural gas, as well as offshore petroleum exploration in the face of ever-increasing energy costs.

However, no specific agreement was reached during yesterday's bilateral talks between Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her Malaysian counterpart Abduallah Ahmad Badawi at Jamaica House.

Last night, Simpson Miller declined to elaborate on the discussions with Abduallah, who arrived in the island yesterday for an official visit.

"I do not want to speak to the specific areas until we have identified the areas that we will both have levels of co-operation," Simpson Miller told reporters at a press conference held at Jamaica House.

Trade and investment, infrastructure development, construction, agriculture and sports were the other areas on which both countries had discussions, the prime minister said.

"We have agreed to give priority attention to promoting and implementing specific programmes in the economic, trade and investment, scientific, technological, educational and social fields," she said.

Simpson Miller said technical teams from both countries would be holding further discussions to work out agreements in the respective areas.

She said, however, that the decision of her government to host the visit of the Malaysian prime minister was a practical demonstration of Jamaica's commitment to deepen relations in Asia, within the framework of South-South co-operation.

Prime Minister Abdullah, who lauded the opportunity for stronger ties between both countries, said he welcomed the opportunity to have Malaysian nurses trained here in Jamaica. He said, too, that he would be seeking more places for medical students to study at the University of the West Indies. He also expressed an interest in receiving technical support from Jamaican sport personnel.

The Malaysian prime minister, who arrived in Jamaica just before 1:00 pm yesterday for a one-day visit, was met on arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport by Simpson Miller.

He was given a red-carpet welcome, and later inspected a guard of honour mounted by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.




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