(Trinidad Express) Carib-bean countries with the best projects will get the opportunity to access US$3 billion in concessional loans from China, says Huang Xingyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.
Huang, in an interview with the Sunday Express at the Chinese Embassy in St Clair last Tuesday spoke about how the Caribbean stood to benefit from the economic powerhouse and how this country’s friendship with China could yield much success.
In his recent visit to Trinidad and Tobago, Chinese President Xi Jingping indicated that Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries that support the People’s Republic of China’s “One China” policy, including Trinidad and Tobago, are to benefit from US$3 billion in concessional loans from that country.
Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Suriname, Montser-rat, Guyana, Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, Domini-ca, and Antigua and Barbuda support the One China policy, in which the People’s Republic of China does not recognise a separate entity called the Republic of China which administers Taiwan.
Belize, Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis maintain relations with Taiwan.
In response to questions from the Sunday Express, Huang explained that there was no fixed allocation for any Caribbean country.
He said the concessional loans can be accessed on a programme or project basis.
Huang said this country stood to benefit not only from the loans.
This measure will also aim to boost trade relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago.
He said there had been a decrease in the level of trade, as in 2011 trade between the two counties stood at US$600 million but fell to US$450 million in 2012. Huang praised Government’s move to establish a diplomatic mission in Beijing, saying this would fuel further growth and deepen the friendship and diplomatic ties.
“Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China’s diplomatic ties with Trinidad and Tobago so it is very convenient to have this move to establish an embassy in Beijing,” he said.
“I have many friends who are CEOs of Chinese companies. When they heard that I came here as the Ambassador they wanted to come here for investment,” he added.
An embassy in Beijing, he said, will make the process easier. “I think shortly after you establish a diplomatic mission in Beijing we will see three increases.
“The first is the investment from China to Trinidad, secondly more people from China will visit your country and thirdly, trade volume, cultural and other exchanges will be increased,” said Huang.
He noted that in July Trinidad and Tobago will become the chair of Caricom and this country is seen as the powerhouse of the Caribbean.
Huang is confident that trade volumes between both countries will increase again.
He added that there could also be collaboration in areas such as crime fighting, environmental protection, energy cooperation, infrastructure and agriculture and including medical care and health cooperation and tourism.
He said some Chinese businessmen had already expressed interest in setting up five-star hotels in this country.
“Another friend thinks that your country is so rich of pitch but your roads are so poor, so maybe we can strengthen cooperation in this as well,” he said.
Huang said Chinese and Trinidad and Tobago working hand in hand would reap rewards for both countries.
He pointed out that in the construction of the Children’s Hospital in Couva, some 70 per cent of the labour utilised was local.
He added that China’s plan to send 100 medical personnel to this country to train doctors and nurses will also improve the health sector.
“I think it will help your country in meeting the need and demand for doctors and nurses. I know there are not enough doctors and nurses in your country,” he said.