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Holness assures China of Jamaica's cooperation in economic development

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday welcomed the opportunity to pair Jamaican minds and aspirations with China's experience and know-how.

Holness said that Jamaica was excited about exploring the possibilities of pairing those assets in areas such as renewable energy, border security, agriculture, health care, and STEM education to achieve sustainability and resilience in its economy.

He was speaking to guests attending the opening of the Second China International Import Expo on the third day of an official eight-day visit to Beijing at the head of a Jamaican delegation. He has held bilateral talks with President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, in Shanghai, and yesterday attended the expo where he gave a formal address.

The prime minister noted that Jamaica's relationship with China extends back to 1854, with the arrival of the first Chinese migrants to the region. He also pointed out that, since then, the Chinese community in Jamaica has become fully integrated into the country's economic fabric.

“I have little doubt that the impressive Bird Nest stadium in Beijing increased in international attention when our Olympic sprinters, Usain 'Lightning' Bolt and his team mates created unforgettable athletic records there. With these significant underpinnings, Jamaica/China relationship is at the strongest point of the 47 years of our diplomatic relationship,” Holness said.

“We are now firmly on a path to expansion of commercial and economic co-operation, within the framework of a strategic relationship,” he added. Jamaica, he stated, has benefited from China's support in several areas, including human resource capacity- building in areas of education and training, as well as scores of Jamaicans benefits from training in agriculture, security, logistics, medicine and urban planning in China.

Holness noted that some 16 Chinese companies registered in Jamaica have already invested more added to cash US$3 billion in the country's economy, while China has already invested some US$600 million in the North-South Highway, now known as the Edward Seaga Highway.

“Jamaica, as a small island developing state of less than three million, people must also focus on 'people centred' development. We, too, must lift our poorest out of absolute poverty and increase the overall standard of living and well-being,” he argued.

He said, however, that his government recognises that, in the context of challenges arising from Jamaica's size and limited resources, it will be essential for the country to take advantage of the opportunities presented through international trade and co-operation.

“Jamaica believes in a multilateral and rules-based system, as being necessary for our economic development,” he insisted.

He also noted that Jamaica shares China's aspirations for a more “open, inclusive and balanced economic globalisation” for the common development and prosperity of all countries, as well as the need to make the economies resilient to climate vulnerabilities and economic shocks.


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