|President of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Friendship Association, Cheng Siwei, presented a token of appreciation to acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Steve Blackett during the courtesy call. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)|
Ways to enhance trade, people-to-people relations and cultural exchanges between Barbados and the People’s Republic of China, are topping Government’s agenda.
Discussions on these matters recently took place when acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Steve Blackett, met with President of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Friendship Association, Cheng Siwei.
The meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Culloden Road, saw both sides examining prospects on how the Friendship Association could help to create a more balanced trade relationship between Barbados and China.?? One suggestion proposed was the need for the trading partners to explore which products and services this island should provide to the world’s most populous country.
In relation to having more cultural exchanges, Mr. Blackett noted that Barbados was in the process of receiving feedback from various stakeholders on its Draft Cultural Industries Bill. He outlined that cultural collaboration with the People’s Republic Chinese could only help to improve the sector.
In response, Mr. Cheng said his organisation’s willingness to work with Barbados as he expressed intrigue with steel pan as a musical instrument.
Proposals included facilitating exchanges between cultural practitioners as well as the possibility of establishing a short-term Chinese cultural institution on the island.
Both sides agreed that there was a need to strengthen people-to-people relations between Barbados and China.?? Mr. Cheng, who is a former Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, emphasised that having on-going communication and dialogue between the two countries and people was imperative to "building trust, friendships, business cooperation and mutual understanding".
Both parties also discussed ways the language barrier could be broken and the development of training programmes.