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Ambassador Xu Hong's Opening Remarks at the Barbados-China Economic and Trade Seminar

Hon. Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce & Small Business Development,

Hon. Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,

Permanent Secretaries,

Hon. Zhang Wuyang, Deputy Secretary-General of the General Office of the People's Government of Anhui Province and members of his delegation,

Dr. Leroy McClean, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation,

Mr. Ricardo Sealy, Chairman of the Barbados China Friendship Association,

Specially invited guests,

Friends from Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

On the occasion of the visit by Anhui economic and trade delegation, the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, and the Barbados-China Friendship Association jointly organized this seminar. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all co-organizers and distinguished guests present here today, and warmly welcome the Anhui delegation.

China and Barbados' relations can be described as "good partners and true friends on the path of development", though our two countries are far from each other. I assumed office in April last year and it will be a full year soon. For this year, I have witnessed the development of exchanges in all fields between the two nations, including politics, economy and trade, culture, education, and so on and experienced the deepening of the friendship of the two peoples. I am very much delighted with these.

I've just got the latest released trade data a couple of days before. According to the Chinese Customs' statistics, in the year of 2012, the amount of Barbados' imports from China is $96.1 million, slightly down from the previous year, but the amount of exports to China was increasing from previous year's $6.7 million to $10.33 million at a rate of 54%. The products exported to China ranging from medical equipments, chemical products, to electronic accessories. The statistics also show that compared to 2005, China's imports from Barbados grew 48 times. I also checked with the Barbados Statistical Service and their data revealed that in 2008, China was Barbados' 5th imports partner and 26th exports partner, but in 2012, China has become the 4th imports partner and 14th exports partner. During the past 5 years, the amount of imports from and exports to China increased 21.8% and 360% respectively, and the growth rate of exports to China was much higher than imports from China. It is noteworthy that the growth is secured under the circumstance of global recession. From the above figures, we can clearly figure out that the two countries are not that far away as we imagine, the mutual demands between the two countries and two peoples are also increasing, and the bilateral cooperations and exchanges are bringing more and more benefits to the people of the two nations.

The above-mentioned figures are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are much more ample results of the relationship between China and Barbados. At the same time, we can see, behind these figures, the hard work of friends of the two countries including everyone present here today. Why I mentioned these statistical results here is just because the trend the figures indicating is really encouraging.

I firmly believe that, the practical collaboration between the two countries has more potential, more opportunities and a wider space. The two countries have signed the agreement of investment promotion and protection and the agreement of double-taxation avoidance, and we are exploring the possibility of signing more agreements covering visa-exemption, civil air service, and legal cooperation. The legal framework of bilateral cooperation has been established and will continue to improve. Barbados has been announced as tourist destination country by the Chinese government, and the tourist collaboration is just unfolding. The new cabinet of Barbados has put forward the new economic development strategy and China can work together with Barbados in many aspects, including renewable energy, agriculture, and food security. I believe that, as long as we, especially the business sector, take the opportunity, open up new approaches, raise efficiency, and make a solid work, more fruitful results can be achieved.

Today's seminar is just offering a forum for friends from the business community of Barbados and Anhui province of China, to discuss the prospect and path of enhancing bilateral cooperation. I do not want to take too much of your valuable time but just to stress that China supports the social and economic development of Barbados and is willing to promote the bilateral friendly collaboration in all fields, under the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to bring tangible benefits to the people of our two countries. The Embassy will spare no efforts to achieve this goal.

I wish the seminar a success! Thank you very much!

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