Trinidad’s PM praises China ties


Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Trinidad and Tobago was honoured to host President of China Xi Jinping, on his first visit to this region since being elected leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 
Xi arrived last night at Piarco Interna­tional Airport, accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, and a number of officials and media personnel for a two-day visit.
She described the state visit as particularly historic and significant because it is the first visit of a president of the People’s Republic of China to the English-speaking Caribbean.
Persad-Bissessar said one of the aims of the visit is to set the stage for a deepening of the bilateral relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and China, in areas such as trade and investment, energy, infrastructural development, technical co-operation, tourism, and cultural and educational exchanges. 
Trinidad and Tobago’s soon-to-be-established embassy in Beijing, she said, will facilitate the promotion and expansion of trade in China and further strengthen the ties that exist between the two nations. 
Persad-Bissessar said she attached great importance to the relationship which Trinidad and Tobago has developed with China since the 1970s. 
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed over those years a truly excellent bilateral relationship that has been characterised by extensive trade in goods and services, economic and technical co-operation, and high-level visits like this one. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked closely with the Chinese Embassy in Port of Spain to foster that friendly diplomatic relationship between our two countries,” Persad-Bissessar said 
She pointed out that Trinidad and Tobago has become the fifth largest import market for Chinese products. 
“From China, we import everything from diesel buses, ferro-silicon manganese, iron/steel tubes and pipes, re-factory bricks, woven fabrics, and Carnival costumes. 
“The value of bilateral trade between Chi­na and Trinidad and Tobago reached a histo­ric figure of US$627 million in 2011. Yes, there is an imbalance in that trade and that gap keeps getting wider. The trade deficit between our two countries was US$158.7 million in 2005 and by 2010, it jumped to US$380.9 million, both in favour of China. We would hope this gap can be reduced as our entrepreneurs in business take up the challenge of the Chinese president to increase exports to China,”Persad-Bissessar said. (Trinidad Express)


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