Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Friday concluded his official visit to China which started with a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jingping and an address to the opening ceremony of the China International Import Exposition in Shanghai.
The Prime Minister then journeyed to Beijing where he held further bilateral talks with Premier Li Kequiang. These bilateral meetings were used to review Jamaica’s current cooperation framework with China and explore additional areas of cooperation agreed upon under a new strategic framework.
Current Cooperation Framework
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. Infrastructure work completed and ongoing under loan cooperation programmes Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) and the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) were also mentioned. Gratitude was expressed on behalf of the people of Jamaica for China’s assistance in agreeing to construct a new state of the art Western Children and Adolescent Hospital in St. James, constructing two infant schools, one in St. Andrew and the other in St. Thomas, and the new headquarters building for our Foreign Affairs Ministry in Downtown Kingston.
The New Strategic Framework
Under the new strategic framework, 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. An important aspect of the Prime Minister’s visit was to address the opening ceremony of the China International Import Exposition where JAMPRO and Jamaican private sector companies showcased Jamaica’s products and services. “Already we have seen great interest and increased demand for Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee and Rums” said Holness during a wrap up interview.