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China invests big bucks in ‘Brand Jamaica’

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

02-01-2016 16:42 BJT

By Vicki Cann, Jamaican PhD Candidate at Communication University of China 

Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller met with newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador Niu Qingbao to Jamaica on January 26. The prime minister  said Jamaica is grateful to Beijing for granting  loans on favorable terms and free economic aid and expects to strengthen economic and trade exchanges with China in a bid to attract more investments. 

Simpson Miller said, as the first English-speaking Caribbean country to establish diplomatic  relations with China, Jamaica has staunchly supported China’s core interests in  major issues and will remain unchanged. Jamaica thanks the Chinese government and people for their support and assistance, attaches great importance to China’s development, which has brought opportunities to her country. She promised to create better investment conditions for  Chinese enterprises.

China and Jamaica can lay claim to ties that have dated as far back as the mid-19th century when the United Kingdom Government recruited agricultural workers from China and India. The earliest groups of Chinese nationals, reportedly, arrived in 1854. 

By the early 1960s, the ancestors of Chinese immigrants had a strong command of the retail trade industry, especially in dry goods stores, supermarkets, laundries, and later moved into manufacturing. 

China and Jamaica had established diplomatic relations on November 21, 1972 – ten years after the country gained its independence. In 1973, the Chinese Government established an embassy in the country’s capital, Kingston.  

Last December, Chinese President Xi Xinping appointed Niu Qingbao, as Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica while Her Excellency Fay Pickersgill was appointed as Niu’s equivalent in Beijing last August. 

China’s investment in Jamaica 

Less than five months ago, the China Exim Bank announced an offer to provide approximately US$10 billion to lure Chinese nationals interested into setting up businesses in Jamaica. 

The Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) and China's EXIM Bank, have partnered to promote ‘Brand Jamaica.’ Kingston hopes foreign investors can benefit from Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Industrial Parks. 

Minister Hylton said, "A part of being open for business is demonstrated in the fact that the Jamaican Government has put in place the necessary legislation to encourage more investment ... as we celebrate 43 years of friendship between our two Governments ... the Jamaican and Chinese Governments are committed to another 43 years and beyond." 

To date, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC Americas) is the largest Chinese company to invest in Jamaica having undertaken the 66 km Jamaica North South Highway Project. 

It’s the largest infrastructure development project on the island with an investment of over USD $600 million in loans from the China Development Bank with equity from CHEC Americas. 

The public first had access to the first section of the highway on August 6, 2014 – the country’s 52nd year of Independence. Jamaicans could utilize this leg of the highway for free for one month.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had officially opened the highway and said:

“The Mount Rosser Leg of the North South Highway is an Independence gift to the Jamaican people. Today I am proud and happy to be a Jamaican. This project is very special to me and when the Chinese take on a task, they never waiver until it is completed and you can take their word for it!” 

The most recent segment of the highway is scheduled to open soon at no charge to motorists until March 10, 2016. In a recent Jamaica Gleaner report, Ivan Anderson, Managing Director of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) said:

“Starting in January, the first section of the highway, which will be opened free to traffic, is from Angels to Linstead. Then in February, we will open free to traffic from Caymanas to Angels and also from Mammee Bay to Unity Valley.”

China’s Commitment to Education

Over the years, the China Scholarship Council has awarded full scholarships to a number of Caribbean locals, Jamaica is no exception.  The Governments of the People’s Republic of China and Jamaica had formally adopted a bilateral scholarship agreement in 2007.  

In a 2012 Jamaica Observer report, former Political Councilor at the Chinese Embassy in Kingston, Xia Guoshun, noted that Beijing had provided over 100 scholarships to Jamaicans and that this serves as an excellent way to foster mutual understanding between both countries.  

“Chinese people want to learn from Jamaicans and Jamaicans also want to learn from the Chinese, so it is a channel for us to learn from each other,”  Xia said.

Once in China, students receive privileges that their Chinese counterparts do not, including private rooms and free admission to cultural and high profile events. 

Such generosity explains why Jamaica continues to appreciate China’s partnership and together they can achieve even greater prosperity on the global development path. 

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


 

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