CHINESE ARE COMING NEXT WEEK

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A traditional red-carpet welcome at the Grantley Adams International Airport next Sunday will herald the start of what promises to be a much anticipated three-day official visit to this country by a high-powered Chinese delegation.

Led by the Vice Premier of the State Council, Hui Liangyu, the 12-man team of officials are expected to fulfill a number of engagements, including the signing of at least four agreements with the Barbados Government. These will provide for, among other things, technical assistance in a number of areas, as well as concessional financing for at least two important development projects here – the Fairchild Street Market and the National Stadium.

A packed agenda awaits the Chinese delegation when it arrives on February 15. Over the next two days, the team will hold formal talks with several government officials and visit some projects the Chinese have funded.

Vice Premier Liangyu, whose portfolio in Beijing includes agriculture, will have important discussions with Prime Minister David Thompson; Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General, Freundel Stuart; Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn; Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Maxine McClean, and this country’s Ambassador to China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford. He will also have an audience with Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands.

Since 1977 when Barbados and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations, this country has benefited from much Chinese assistance. China built the landmark Garfield Sobers Gynasium and renovated the Cheapside Market, in addition to providing technical and financial aid for other development projects.

China’s economy is ranked No. 4 in the world, and prior to 2008, it had been growing at an average rate of 7% over the past three decades.

Prime Minister Thompson paid a state visit to China last May; he was accompanied by the then Foreign Minister, Christopher Sinckler.

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