Jamaica, China sign billion-dollar pacts
Published: Friday | February 13, 2009
Xi Jinping (right), Chinese vice-president, and Prime Minister Bruce Golding leave a press briefing at Jamaica House, St Andrew, yesterday afternoon. A number of bilateral agreements were signed by the two countries during the short briefing. Under the agreements, China will lend support to Jamaica in the areas of agriculture, education and trade. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
CHINA AND Jamaica yesterday signed several cooperative agreements and letters of exchange valued in excess of J$10 billion on day two of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to the island.
Among the agreements signed at Jamaica House yesterday after-noon was an agreement between the Ex-Im Bank of China and the Ex-Im Bank of Jamaica to establish a US$100-million (J$9 billion) line of credit to finance short-term trade.
An agreement was also signed between the development banks of Jamaica and China to provide US$10 million (J$900 million) in concessional financing. The Chinese will also offer assistance to Jamaica's agricultural, water and educational sectors.
In welcoming China's assis-tance, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Jamaica has benefited tremendously in the past from China and that the new agreements would only strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
"Those relationships have existed for 36 years and they have grown stronger with every passing year," he said.
"But those relations are defined by the integrity that we have maintained. Jamaica has always been committed to a One-China policy and I have conveyed to the vice-president the assurance that Jamaica will remain unswervingly committed to one China," Golding added.
He said China's response was timely, given the low funding available to Jamaica on the capital markets.
Responding to Golding's remarks, Jinping said the agreements would serve the interests of both Jamaica and China and that it provided an opportunity for the countries to deepen their ties.
"Jamaica is a major country in the Caribbean region," Jinping told journalists at yesterday's press briefing. "It is also a major partner of China in the Caribbean. China highly values its relations with Jamaica."
He added: "We are ready to work with Jamaica to build on the current progress ... and pioneering efforts so as to inject new vigour and vitality intothe friendly partnershipfor communal development between our two countries."