Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, has emphasised China’s importance as an invaluable partner for Barbados.
She highlighted the island’s long-standing relationship with the Asian super power today, during the signing of an Economic Technical Agreement and three Banking Agreements on Accounting Procedures with a total value of BDS$16 million between Government and China, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In her brief remarks, Senator McClean said China had proven to be a reliable partner for Barbados and pointed to the funding of numerous development projects, including the construction and refurbishment of some of the country’s most visible landmarks.
She cited the Elsie Payne Complex, headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre as examples.
The Foreign Minister added: “Barbados and the People’s Republic of China on May 30, 2013, marked 36 years of diplomatic relations; a period during which the two countries have built a solid relationship based on respect and cooperation, in an effort to advance mutual understanding between our peoples.”
She said Government had made considerable progress in the utilisation of the grant funds provided by the government of China and disclosed that 11 potential projects in areas such as agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructural development, had been submitted to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
“The Government of Barbados is looking forward to being informed about which projects are selected in the first instance, and for the on-going execution of bilateral projects with China,” Senator McClean underlined.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador, Xu Hong, said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1977, 21 government agreements on economic and technical cooperation had been signed.
“With the grants and interest free loans provided by the Chinese government, 17 projects have been implemented; including turn-key projects, supply of materials, cash donation and consultancy projects…Such cooperation has made contributions to the social and economic progress and improvements of the people’s livelihood in Barbados. You can see today that [Barbadians] are still enjoying the benefits of these projects, for example, the Cheapside Market, the Wildey Gymnasium and the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre,” Ambassador Xu pointed out.
The envoy pledged to continue working with Barbados to promote new areas of cooperation to “bring more benefits to the people of Barbados, which in return, will further develop the bilateral relationship”.
Also present at today’s signing was Commercial Counsellor, Wu Gangchen, First Secretary, Wei Bo and Attach√, Niu Zhikang.
Barbados and China established diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977. (BGIS)