CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA COMMITTED TO DEEPER RELATIONS WITH CHINA

There is a commitment from the Caribbean and Latin America to deepen the existing relationship with China.  This was the consensus  adopted by those countries represented at the 2nd meeting of the Forum of Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and China in Santiago, Chile.

The Forum adopted a declaration and a Plan of Action which sets out the activities that the parties will undertake over the three-year period between 2019-2021.  

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Maxine McClean led the Barbados delegation. During her address at the plenary session Minister McClean emphasised the importance of climate change, renewable energy, regional transportation to the countries of the Caribbean Community and outlined the special circumstances of Small Island Developing States. The Minister also indicated that Caribbean regional institutions should take full part in the process.

Caribbean Foreign Ministers also met with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi in a special bilateral meeting which reviewed the state of cooperation between China and the Caribbean and agreed on certain key joint activities to be jointly implemented.

The Chinese Foreign Minister extended an invitation to the countries present to participate in the upcoming China International Export Exhibition, scheduled to take place in Shanghai, China, in November, 2018. The Exhibition is a forum for China’s trade partners, including Barbados, to promote their products and services to the Chinese market and is part of China’s plan to diversify its economy from one that is investment-led to one that is more consumer-focussed. 

China has become one of the most important trade and investment partners for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Recent studies cited by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean indicated that China invested in excess of 141 billion US dollars during the period 2005-2016 and estimate the value of trade between the two sides at 266 billion US dollars in 2017.