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China Daily Website

Investment in Jamaica vital: Li

Updated: 2013-08-22 10:03
By Zhao Yanrong and Zhao Shengnan ( China Daily)

Beijing encourages competitive Chinese companies to invest in Jamaica, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday, as he urged the Jamaican government to provide more convenience and protection to Chinese firms in the Caribbean nation.

Li made the remarks when meeting Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller in Beijing, and said that the two countries' relationship will move at the speed of a "lightning Bolt", referring to Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter.

During the meeting on Wednesday, the two countries signed agreements on technical cooperation, infrastructure construction and education. The two leaders pledged to increase cooperation on addressing climate change, as Jamaica and other Caribbean countries have been confronted with environmental challenges.

Simpson-Miller, Jamaica's first female prime minister, is on her first official visit to China from Tuesday to Sunday. Before the meeting, Li welcomed her with a 21-gun salute outside the Great Hall of the People.

During the meeting, Li said Jamaica is one of the most important Chinese partners in the Caribbean, and the two countries can make plans for further cooperation, to promote bilateral trade and enhance cooperation in agriculture, new energy, education, medicine and sports.

Li also said he expects the Jamaican government to provide efficient protection to Chinese citizens and companies in Jamaica. Li said he hopes Jamaica, an important regional economy in the Caribbean region, will continue to play a positive role in building a closer relationship between China and Caribbean countries.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Jamaica diplomatic relations. Jamaica was one of the first countries in the Caribbean to establish diplomatic ties with China.

Many Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, face climate change challenges. Li said China is willing to enhance cooperation in this field, as China is undergoing an economic transformation and pursuing sustainable and green development.

Simpson-Miller said Jamaica appreciates the long-term support from China to her nation and other Caribbean countries.

"Jamaica is willing to strengthen communication with China and cooperate with China to face global issues such as climate change, and to push the China-Jamaica relationship to a higher level," said Simpson-Miller, who was ranked by Time magazine as among its 100 Most Influential Persons in the World in 2012.

Chen Yuanting, a Latin America expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China pays tremendous attention to Caribbean countries, and they are also eager to work with China.

"After the global financial crisis, the number of international tourists visiting Caribbean countries dropped sharply, dealing a heavy blow to those countries' economies. However, Chinese investment in Caribbean countries' infrastructure can help develop other industries," Chen said.

Climate change and other environmental issues can function as good starting points for the two sides to address global issues, she added.

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