Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland greeting Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados Yan Xiusheng at his office at the Warren’s Office Complex, Warren’s St. Michael. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The time for businesses to learn and benefit from China is now!

This was emphasized recently by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he, along with a ministry team, met with Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados, Yan Xiusheng, at the Warren’s Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.

Recalling his visit to the exposition in Shanghai last year, where the focus was on China’s Belt and Road Agreement, Minister Sutherland told Ambassador Yan that Barbados stood to benefit significantly from that country, one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

He said: “There is a lot that we can learn from you and indeed there is a lot that you can do to enhance our trade relationships and to give us that edge in terms of where the international world sees us as a small island, but yet powerful as it relates to not only doing business but our standards and our credibility and how we are viewed as a people.

 “We really believe that if there is a time that Barbados can benefit from China’s liberation of its market is now, especially in a digital age.  It all starts here in this ministry, preparing businesses for export.  We in the ministry are not only looking to grow the micro, small and medium enterprise sector. We can always benefit from your experience in terms of what you have done as a nation.”

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, told Ambassador Yan that Barbados stood to benefit significantly from China. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Commending China for opening up its markets and aiding developing countries, through the Belt and Road Agreement, Mr. Sutherland expressed the hope that technical assistance and funding could be provided to Barbados for the building of a laboratory to ensure accreditation and address the sanitary and phytosanitary rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 Acknowledging that such a lab would benefit agriculture as a whole, and balance trade between China and Barbados, the Commerce Minister told Ambassador Yan: “We welcome you because with respect to the WTO rules and our drive to remove all our technical barriers to trade, we don’t believe we should try to prevent China’s imports because of a trade imbalance, but what we seek to do is to learn from you and see how we can have our businesses export-ready.”

Ambassador Yan, in response, noted that with the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977, Barbados had adhered to a One-China relations policy and support had been mutual, with the two cooperating and collaborating in international affairs.

 “Barbados is a very important country in the Caribbean region and it has played an important role in regional and international affairs….  We have assisted in the areas of education, culture, agriculture, business, healthcare, military and in every sphere, the Chinese Government has done its best to help Barbados in its development and social economy,” he said, adding this included the development of the Wildey Gymnasium, Cheapside Market, the establishment of the Hope Agricultural Project and the Food Security Centre, and very soon, the construction of a new National Stadium.

The two officials also addressed issues related to the continued development of this island’s financial literacy bureau as well as the ease of doing business via an electronic platform, a trade information portal and an electronic single window.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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