Government and China will sign a Mutual Visa Abolition Agreement to pave the way for smooth entry of Chinese nationals who are holders of diplomatic and service (official) passports.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, announced the signing date for the Agreement as Tuesday, May 27, today, while addressing stakeholders attending the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation???s Doing Business with China half-day seminar.

It was held in the Bagnall???s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, St. Michael.

She told her audience that this agreement abolishes the requirements of visas for holders of these passports and will ???make it easier for a substantial number of persons to enter Barbados easily???.

Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with China, Senator McClean said Barbados and China have built a solid relationship that was based on mutual respect and cooperation.

She said evidence of this strengthened relationship was through increased commercial and business activities as well as reciprocal visits of high-level dignitaries.

These include an official visit to several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in June 2013, a visit from a team from China Central Television hosted by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in September and in November 2013, a delegation from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Tianjin Sub-Council met with several government and private sector stakeholders to get a better understanding of the investment and trading climate in the region.

In August 2013, Senator McClean said there was the visit of the Henan Performing Cultural Arts Group which staged a hugely successful exhibition at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and a performance by the Nanijing Orchestra in March this year.

The Foreign Minister mentioned that Minister of Culture Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley headed a Barbados delegation in April, and signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart Cai Wu, aimed at strengthening cultural cooperation between Barbados and China.

Senator McClean said the relationship was ???anchored??? by a Double Taxation Agreement which was signed in 2000. ???In addition, the numerous Barbadians that have benefitted from scholarships in China may be looked upon as an untapped pool on which we may draw as we seek to increase our engagement with China.???

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