Ambassador urges Ja to merge Chinese initiative, vision 2030
Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang (left), shakes hands with Peter Mark Chin, deputy executive chairman of LASCO Affiliated Companies and managing director of LASCO Distributors Limited, on arrival at the welcome dinner for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Jamaica, TIAN Qi (centre). The function was held on Wednesday, November 14, at the Jade Gardens Restaurant in Liguanea Kingston
NEWLY installed Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, Tian Qi, is encouraging Jamaica to sign on to the Asian Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The BRI is China’s attempt to create a modern version of the Silk Road, in a bid to boost trade and economic integration across Caribbean and Latin American states, including Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Venezuela, Panama, Chile, El Salvador and most recently, Ecuador through investments in roads, pipelines, ports and communication networks.
“We warmly welcome Jamaica to take this initiative of Belt and Road Cooperation by combining it to the Vision 2030 Jamaican Development Plan,” Qi said.
Speaking at a welcome dinner hosted by Lascelles Chin, founder and executive chairman, LASCO Affiliated Companies, Qi said China will continue to advance the BRI.
“It is my wish that there will be [a] better partnership between Jamaica and China in the future,” he told guests at the Jade Garden Restaurant in Kingston. “It is our common wish that the day will come soon when Jamaica is the real place to live, raise families, do business and retire in paradise.”
By August 2018, over 103 countries and international organisations had signed over 118 Belt and Road Cooperation’s Agreements with China, resulting in it accumulating over US$5 trillion in trade since June, according to Qi.
Launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI has already seen Chinese loans and investments of US$340 billion in infrastructure and energy projects in 65 countries. It is expected to reach US$1 trillion by 2023 and US$2 trillion by the 2030s.
Qi went on to note that China will continue to advance the BRI through international cooperation, in a spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
The ambassador said China and Jamaica are important partners in protection capacity cooperation and job initiatives.
“Over the past years, 16 major Chinese enterprises have invested over US$1.9 billion in Jamaica, completed nearly 40 projects and created over 10,000 jobs,” Qi said.
“As you know Chinese companies are doing good business and giving back to the local communities as we are better in doing and speaking,” he added.
The ambassador highlighted the China International Import/Expo in Shanghai last month, which was attended by a delegation led by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, who shared opportunities for investments and showcased Jamaican products there.
He described the expo as “a concrete action by the Chinese Government to pursue a new round of high-level opening up of the economy”.
“I was convinced that this would further boost brand Jamaica,” Qi said.
In welcoming the ambassador, LASCO founder, Chin said Qi has taken up a role during another extraordinary time in the history of Jamaica and China relations.
“As we underscore the financial contribution of your country, we also want to welcome you in the spirit of the bonds of friendship and mutually beneficial cultural ties that have marked China – Jamaica relations, for decades,” Chin said.
Chin also thanked Chinese companies CHEC and JISCO for believing and investing in Jamaica.
“As we traverse the length and breadth of our country, we owe a debt of gratitude to CHEC as we experience the impact of their investment in our country,” Chin said. “Today, thanks to CHEC we can now boast of travelling on what could be described as “Silk” roads, or as Honourable Nigel Clarke said, we are now driving on carpet.”
Minister Horace Chang, representing Prime Minister Andrew Holness, reiterated the long-standing relationship that exists between China and Jamaica. “We consider the Chinese as one of our great friends in the Far East. We’ve had 164 years of Chinese connection with Jamaica… and we have maintained that relationship,” he noted.
The welcome dinner hosted by Chin, was attended by former Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall; government ministers besides Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, included minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mike Henry; Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Karl Samuda, and Minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Works, Everald Warmington.
Chinese investors, including Hu Zhimin, CHEC deputy general manager and JISCO general manage, Zhang Jun were also present.
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