China and Guyana yesterday signed two agreements that would see the former providing more than US$7.2 million ($1.4 billion) in grant aid to further technical and economic cooperation and provide fire fighting equipment.
The grant for technical and economic cooperation was in the amount of 30 million Renminbi (US$4.762 million/$956.6 million), while the grant for the provision of fire-fighting equipment for the Guyana Fire Service was in the amount of 15.5 million Renminbi (US$2.460 million/$494.2 million).
The exchange of signatures took place at the Guyana International Con-ference Centre, Liliendaal between Guyana’s Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh and China’s Vice Minister at the Ministry of Commerce Zhong Shan. The Govern-ment of China and the Government of Guyana will decide on what projects the grant of 30 million Renminbi is expended.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Singh said it was an auspicious occasion since this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Guyana and China.
“We in Guyana are extremely proud of the fact that we were the first country in the Caribbean to establish diplomatic relations with China. We are equally proud of the manner in which this relationship has evolved and strengthened over the years,” Dr Singh said.
“Our countries have strong historic and cultural ties and there are many elements of Chinese culture that have become an important part of the Guyanese cultural tapestry,” said the minister. “The relationship between the two countries has also manifested itself in several other important areas of cooperation. At a political level, Guyana has long supported the One China Policy and continues to do so,” he said.
The minister said that at the level of official bilateral cooperation, there are many examples of technical and economic cooperation between the two countries over the years. “The government and people of China have provided important development support to Guyana,” he said, citing several examples of projects that have been successfully implemented with the benefit of that support.
He said the relationship between the two countries is also being made manifest through growing economic relations.
“Today we see Chinese companies investing and expanding in Guyana and there are important examples of such companies including Bosai Bauxite Company which plays a very important role in the bauxite mining sector.
At the same time other Chinese companies are indicating active interest in entering the Guyanese market,” he said, adding that they are welcomed with open arms.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Zhong said the “Chinese government is committed to its relationship with Guyana. The minister said that earlier yesterday he visited President Donald Ramotar and he was scheduled to have formal talks with Singh later yesterday.
Highlighting the three major objectives of his visit, Zhong said he came to further trade and economic cooperation and to implement the consensus that was reached during the third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held last September in Trinidad. “Last but not least we are representing the Chinese government in providing a 30 million Renminbi grant to Guyana,” he added.
Further, the Chinese minister gave a commitment that China will be looking to increase its trade with Guyana, allowing for the import of Guyanese products. He encouraged Guyana to take advantage of the market of 1.3 billion consumers. “We are deepening our commercial ties. Our trade is growing. Economic and technical cooperation is also moving forward quickly,” he said. He said that because of the deepening of trade and economic cooperation there has been social progress in both countries.
He said the Chinese government encourages Chinese companies to invest in Guyana.