With Barbados and other Caribbean countries facing severe challenges, economic powerhouse China says it is both ready and willing to help regional states get back on course to sustained growth.
However, Chinese Ambassador to Barbados Wang Ke made it clear today that any new economic partnership must amount to a “win-win”, while reiterating Beijing’s commitment to expanding bilateral financial cooperation “with friendly Caribbean countries”, as well as with regional financial institutions.
“China is working on building new international relations based on cooperation and mutual benefits, and stands ready to strengthen win-win cooperation with the Caribbean countries,” the Chinese envoy told participants in the seminar hosted by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at the Barbados Hilton Resort.
The seminar is looking specifically at opportunities for trade, aid and investment of the Chinese currency, the Renminbi (RMB), in the Caribbean.
In this regard, Wang Ke said China was ready “to promote exchanges and dialogues with the Caribbean to help regional financial and monetary institutions better understand China’s financial policies and RMB products and to discuss the feasibility of the methods on how RMB business can operate in the Caribbean and benefit expansion of mutual beneficial cooperation on trade, aid and investment.
“Ladies and gentlemen, when opportunity knocks please open the door,” she added.
China already has membership in the CDB, in which it holds about 5.6 per cent or 16,588 ordinary shares. As a non-borrowing member, it has contributed in excess of US$48 million to the CDB’s Special Development Fund and has pledged over US$6 million to the Fund’s 9th replenishment cycle, which runs from 2017 until 2020.
In welcoming participants to today’s seminar, CDB President Dr Warren Smith noted that the event was taking place at a time when the ability of many Caribbean countries to engage in international trade and financial services was being undermined by the withdrawal of correspondent banking services by North American and European financial institutions, adding that “an urgent resolution to this dilemma is vitally necessary.
“Just a few weeks ago at CDB’s annual meeting which was held in the Turks and Caicos Islands, I argued that our economies need to grow and they need to do so in a robust and sustained way. For the Caribbean to achieve its collective ambition to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all international trade must be a central tenet of its economic growth strategy,” Smith stressed.