Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and members of his delegation receiving a first-hand look at the Yangsham Deep Sea Port in Shanghai.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has described his first official visit to China as "very promising and worthwhile."

His comments came as he was winding down his official six-day trip to that country that saw him visiting the capital Beijing, as well as the municipalities of Xi’an and Shanghai, where he held top level meetings with government officials and the business sectors.

Mr. Stuart started his last day in the country having talks with the Investment Executive of the Asian Office of Invest Barbados, Dr, Carlisle Boyce, who is based in Shanghai. There are plans afoot for Invest Barbados to broaden its outreach to target more investors, manufacturers and business and financial services executives in other emerging economies in Asia.

Later, the Prime Minister held meetings with officials of the Shanghai Urban Planning Department, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Shanghai, as well as management and administrators of the Yangsham Deep Sea Port, which is a billion dollar shipping hub.

Mr. Stuart pointed out that his visit also served to further strengthen relations with China, and identified additional areas of cooperation between the two states. He said he was very encouraged by the talks held with the Chinese Government on securing the needed technical assistance in a number of areas that are critical to the development of other sectors of the Barbadian economy. He pinpointed alternative sources of energy, environmental business initiatives and agriculture activity as potentially the best areas for getting hands-on assistance from the Peoples Republic of China.

"There is much follow-up work to be done in these areas, and I am determined to pursue these initiatives to make sure that they bear fruit. We have to get those government agencies and statutory entities that are set up specifically to facilitate and promote the establishment of business enterprises to work on these initiatives and carry through with the momentum. Sometimes, we take inordinately long to bring proposed ventures to a state of realisation.

"The Barbados Embassy in Beijing, ably led by Sir Lloyd Sandiford, and the technocrats there and at Invest Barbados and the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation know their work in this respect, and will play a pivotal role in ensuring that, all things being equal, the plans and initiatives are brought to fruition within a reasonable timeframe," he noted. "I have told them that all of our energies must be brought to bear to effect the desired outcomes. The idea is not merely to talk about our work and what we are paid by the taxpayers to do, but to perform and quietly demonstrate tangible results over time.

"Government has set an enabling environment and provided the legislative and human resource framework for these initiatives to be successfully pursued. So, at this stage, we are hopeful that in the fullness of time there will be meaningful results. The ground work is being laid," the Prime Minister emphasised.

Mr. Stuart is due back home this Saturday, and Barbadians will hear first-hand of his visit when he speaks to the media on arrival at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

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