Latest News
HomeRegional NewsAsia-PacificChina and Barbados strengthen ties

China and Barbados strengthen ties

Barbados will soon have a diplomatic and commercial presence in the People’s Republic of China which should strengthen relations between the two countries. This is one of a number of initiatives…

Barbados will soon have a diplomatic and commercial presence in the People’s Republic of China which should strengthen relations between the two countries. This is one of a number of initiatives discussed during official talks between Barbados’ Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, and Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiaboa, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

Barbados could also benefit from increased cooperation in education since, in addition to the continued provision of scholarships, China has offered to send teachers to Barbados.

Mr. Arthur, who is on an official visit to China in celebration of 30 years of diplomatic relations, outlined his vision for China’s future cooperation with Barbados. “I wish to advance our relationship to a more mature stage and to our mutual benefit. We must find ways to create a new economic relationship… This visit will usher in an era of cooperation in tourism, agriculture and technology among other areas,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Barbados’ commitment to the ‘One China Policy’ and encouraged the Asian nation to develop closer relations with countries in the region and by extension, CARICOM.

One way to strengthen economic ties, Mr. Arthur suggested, was for China to play a prominent role in the regional fund to assist lesser developed Caribbean countries.

Citing Barbados as a partner and friend, Premier Wen said he was seeking to work together in a number of areas including trade, investment, tourism, culture, education and financial services.

He then suggested that representatives from each nation visit each other to promote closer collaboration in the cultural sector.

As part of the effort to develop closer ties, Premier Wen invited Barbados to be part of two major events which will be held in China; the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.

Following the meeting, the two countries signed an agreement to undertake a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Barbados National Stadium. The document was initialed by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Erskine Griffith, on behalf of Barbados, while Vice Minister of Commerce, Ma Xiuhong, signed for China.

Mr. Arthur also met with Vice-Chairman of the National Tourism Administration, Zhang Xiqin at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China.

He told his hosts that cooperation in tourism could be boosted through international sporting events such as the World Cup of Golf which is to be held in China shortly and the Olympic Games.

“Any cooperation in tourism should not be only about the movement of people, but we must assist each other in the development of our industries…… and when we have special events we must make it possible for our citizens to attend these activities. This would help build a base for a stronger relationship in the future,” Mr. Arthur said.

With Barbados being granted approved destination status by the Chinese Government, the Prime Minister also stressed that this provided a golden opportunity for Barbados to stake its claim in a non-traditional tourist market.

He stated that Barbados had traditionally depended on the British market and Europe for its arrivals, but was now expanding its interests beyond those shores.

The Prime Minister explained that through the Tourism Development Act, Barbados was also seeking to diversify its industry from the focus on sun, sea and sand to niches such as sports, heritage and eco-tourism.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.