Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica and China will focus on increasing trade, particularly in getting more Jamaican goods into the Chinese market.
Mr. Holness said that already Jamaica has begun exporting live lobsters to China, and is in the process of finalising the procedures with the Chinese authorities to allow for the export of frozen lobsters.
“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 (BRI),” he said.
Mr. Holness was delivering a Statement to the House of Representatives on November 19, following his recent eight-day official working visit to the People’s Republic of China.
“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.
“Infrastructure projects will, therefore, take the modalities of joint-venture partnership, public-private partnership or private-sector partnerships directly between Jamaican firms and Chinese firms as the normal course of business,” he said.
He informed that under the new cooperation framework, investments will be more strategic and focused on the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and logistic hubs, urban centre development, water and sewerage, agriculture and affordable housing.
“We have seen interested investors in the development of [Caymanas] SEZ out of China. There are issues, obviously, because we have to figure out how we are going to approach this. Are we going to treat it on a sole source, do we treat it as a strategic investment, or do we put out open tender… . Decisions [are] to be made,” Mr. Holness said.
He noted that the Lower House will be updated with further details on the plans going forward.
“I want to bring into the consciousness of the Jamaican people that we have not abandoned the Caymanas Special Economic Zone. There is significant interest from China to invest in it. We now have to work out the modality as to how that is accommodated,” the Prime Minister said.
He also told the Lower House that another area of cooperation under the partnership is education.
Mr. Holness informed that focus will be placed on technology training and building out more school infrastructure.
He added that later this month, the Vice Minister of Education for China, Weng Tiehui, will pay a working visit to Jamaica to sign a memorandum of understanding in the field of education and to exchange views on strategies needed to prepare “our societies for the future of work”.
Source: JIS News