On September 12, 2011, the Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum was held in Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago. Political leaders and entrepreneurs from Caribbean countries attended the opening ceremony of the Forum. Addressing the opening ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said the Chinese government will take further measures to deepen China-Caribbean cooperation.
In recent years, China-Caribbean relations have maintained good momentum with frequent high-level exchanges and deepened mutual political trust, said Wang. The establishment of China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum has opened up a new aspect for Sino-Caribbean cooperation. China-Caribbean cooperation in all areas has moved on the fast track, the Chinese vice premier said, adding China will remain a sincere friend and cooperative partner of Caribbean countries forever.
Wang pointed out that in the grim international economic situation, to deepen China-Caribbean cooperation in all areas is of great significance to the promotion of their respective economic development and of world economic recovery. In the next three years, the Chinese government will take six policy initiatives to further deepen China- Caribbean cooperation. First, strengthen financial and investment cooperation. China will provide one billion U.S. dollars of preferential loans to Caribbean countries, said Wang. Second, enhance cooperation on capacity building. The Chinese side will offer training courses for no less than 2,500 Caribbean trainees. Third, boost cooperation on environmental protection and new energy. Fourth, enhance cooperation on culture, education and health. Fifth, reinforce trade and tourism cooperation. Efforts should be made to promote Chinese group tours to the Caribbean region. Sixth, increase cooperation on agriculture and fishery. The Chinese government is willing to work together with the Caribbean governments to turn the vision of China-Caribbean cooperation into reality.
In her speech delivered at the opening ceremony, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar extended welcome for Wang to lead the Chinese government delegation to the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, expressing belief that the Forum will promote friendly relations and economic and trade exchanges between Caribbean countries and China. Due to the global economic crisis, Caribbean countries can no longer rely solely on traditional trading partners and they must develop trade and economic cooperation with China and other emerging countries. There is a broad prospect for Caribbean-China cooperation in tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, finance, health care, new energy and other fields. She believed pragmatic cooperation between both sides will score fruitful results and benefit people of all countries.
Political leaders including Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo, Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Grenadian Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and Surinamese Vice President Robert Ameerali attended the opening ceremony.
The China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum is the highest level of economic and trade dialogue mechanism between the two sides. The current forum, co-organized by the governments of China and Trinidad and Tobago, drew about 700 participants including government officials and business representatives from China and Caribbean countries.