Following his return from The Republic of China (ROC) last Evening, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart offered a synopsis of his trip to the emerging superpower. He relayed that Barbados had signed three agreements with the ROC, and had had other discussions coming out of the six day journey, where he got a better understanding of that nation.
The trip has now made it clear what objectives are to be followed through on, and in discussions with our Ambassador to China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, these objectives can be pursued in the interest of Barbados and ROC.
The agreements signed with the ROC include an economic and technical agreement which will see small development projects being undertaken and will be identified by government of Barbados, and executed by the Chinese.
In another agreement, a dispatch of Chinese teachers can be expected at the University of The West Indies (UWI) to teach Mandarin, a group of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. It is expected that this effort can help is closing ties between the two territories, and give credence to Chinese travelling to Barbados.
Barbados has also sought an Air Services Agreement with the People's Republic of China, since China has about 50 million Chinese who travel each year. Barbados is an approved nation of the ROC, where its nationals can travel. Barbados is seeking a percentage of those travellers.
The PM believes these are significant efforts and has therefore instructed its China embassy to follow-up on the efforts.
In addition, Prime Minister Stuart met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and had discussions centred around education and renewable energy, and happenings in the world today. China has agreed to help Barbados with expansion, or construction of additional campuses for the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, and the Barbados Community College. More Barbadians each year are being refused by these institutions than are being accepted because of limited space.
Mr. Stuart have also met with Mr. Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China. Mr. Bangguo have invited the Speaker of The House of Assembly, and Leader of the Senate of Barbados to visit China in an effort to see how Barbados' Parliament works. Mr. Stuart has also invited Mr. Bangguo to Barbados.
As international business is a significant input to the economy of Barbados, Prime Minister Stuart started his last day in the country having talks with the Investment Executive of the Asian Office of Invest Barbados, Dr. Carlisle Boyce, who is based in Shanghai. Already there are 33 China businesses registered to operate in Barbados, and more investors are to be targeted.