In a statement to Parliament on his recent official visit to China, prime minister Holness described his trip as a fruitful and productive visit with the signing of a number of agreements. “I also received a first hand view of innovation and efficiency at work and held strategic meetings to garner interest in key areas such as logistics, energy, agriculture and tourism,” Holness said.
He reported that “In Shanghai, a bilateral meeting was held with President Xi Jinping; during which Jamaica’s current cooperation framework with China was discussed with additional areas of cooperation to be agreed upon under a new strategic framework.”
“The strategic partnership positions Jamaica to pursue development cooperation with China, in keeping with our own clearly defined national development strategic priorities on the basis of mutual respect and shared benefits,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
The BRI is a new model of international development cooperation, promoting broad and inclusive connectivity across countries and regions. It also provides a powerful framework to ensure that development cooperation brings shared benefits to China and its partners.
Mr. Holness reiterated that Jamaica will not negotiate any new loan programmes with China, as it seeks to reduce the country’s debt.
He noted that “under the current framework of cooperation, the North-South Highway construction by China Harbour Engineering Company was highlighted along with JISCO’s purchase of the Alpart plant and mining rights as the two major Chinese investments in Jamaica.
In addition, “Infrastructure work completed and ongoing under loan cooperation programmes JDIP, MIDP and the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) were also mentioned.”
The prime minister said he “expressed gratitude on behalf of the people of Jamaica for China’s assistance in constructing a new state of the art Western Children and Adolescent Hospital in St. James, two infant schools, one in St. Andrew and the other in St. Thomas, and the new headquarters building for our Foreign Affairs Ministry in Down Town Kingston.”
“We also met with the management teams of JISCO and CHEC as well as a number of potential investors in the areas of commerce, logistics, energy, agriculture and tourism,” Holness said.
He emphasized that “China with a population of approximately 1.4 billion (approximately 20% of the world’s population) represents the single largest market in the global space. We must, therefore, position ourselves to increase our exports to that country.”
Prime minister Holness declared that “the new strategic partnership reflects an enhanced level of engagement between the two countries within the context of Jamaica’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. This strategic partnership positions Jamaica to pursue development cooperation with China in keeping with our own clearly defined national development strategic priorities, on the basis of mutual respect and shared benefits. The two governments have agreed to focus efforts on increasing trade, particularly to encourage more Jamaican goods and services to be exported to the Chinese market.
This process has already begun with the export of live lobster into China and we are in the process of finalizing the procedures with the Chinese authorities to allow for export of frozen lobster,” he pointed out.
“On the investment side, the Government of Jamaica in keeping with its firm commitment to reduce debt rapidly, will not negotiate any new loan programmes with our Chinese partners.
“Infrastructure projects will, therefore, take the modalities of joint venture partnerships, public-private partnerships, or private sector transactions directly between Jamaican firms and Chinese firms as the normal course of business.
“Under the new cooperation framework, investments will be more strategic and focused on the development of special economic zones and logistics hubs, urban centre development, water and sewerage, agriculture, and affordable housing.
“These areas are strategic for investments and are aligned with the government's objectives of stimulating growth, creating jobs, and building resilience in Jamaica’s economy and will be pursued on an open, profitable commercial basis,” Holness declared.
The prime Minister spoke about cooperation in education and sports as well as climate change and resilience building through greater application of technology.
- Cooperation Plan between the Government of China and the Government of Jamaica on Jointly Promoting Belt and Road;
- MOU on Strengthening Comprehensive Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Jamaica;
- MOU between the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica on Establishing the Joint Economic and Trade Commission;
- MOU on China-Jamaica Exchange and Cooperation on Sports;
- MOU on China-Jamaica Cooperation on Human Resources Development;
- Exchange of Letters on China-Aided Electronic Office Supplies and CT Scanners Project;
- Sister City Agreement between Yantai and Kingston
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