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Remarks by Ambassador Wang Ke at the Signing Ceremony of Loan Agreement on Barbados Sam Lord's Castle Hotel Project
November 20, 2015

Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister,

Hon. Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs,

Mr. Tong Qing, Deputy General Manager of Preferential Loan Department of the Export-Import Bank of China,

Distinguished Guests,

Friends from Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

It is a great pleasure of mine to witness the signing of the Preferential Export Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement made by China Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) and the Government of Barbados today. By this preferential loan, China EXIM Bank will provide US$ 170 million to fund the rehabilitation of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for his gracious presence despite his busy schedule and signing on the loan agreement. On behalf of the Chinese government and in my own name, I wish to express my warmest congratulations on this important agreement.

The rehabilitation project of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel is the very first of its kind that China offers preferential loan to fund large-scale tourism infrastructure in Barbados. It is also a significant project that translates the strategic goals reached by China’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Stuart during their 2013 meeting in Trinidad and Tobago into tangible actions.

This project can be traced back to May 2014 when I paid a visit to Prime Minister Stuart. During that meeting, we reached a consensus that China and Barbados should initiate the negotiation of the cooperation in Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel rehabilitation project. Since then, with the support of Chinese and Barbadian governments, China EXIM Bank and Barbados Tourist Investment Inc. (BTI) have carried out a more than 16-month negotiation. With their tireless efforts and fruitful work, the project has passed the loan evaluation and review of China EXIM Bank and got approved by the two governments. With the loan agreement signed today, it is finally ready for the project to be put into operation. This makes China the only country that offers large-scale preferential loans to finance infrastructure projects in Barbados, which not only shows that China remains confident in Barbados tourism industry and its national economy, but also writes a new chapter in China-Barbados partnership of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, which will shine in the history of our bilateral relations.

In few days, the ground breaking ceremony of the rehabilitation of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel will be held, and the project construction by China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corp. (COMPLANT) will soon follow. I expect and believe that the construction and the future operation of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel will play a positive role in increasing employment and foreign exchange income of Barbados and further enhancing the contribution that tourism makes to Barbados’ national economy. Meanwhile, Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel will lay a solid foundation and set up as a pilot project as well for more capable Chinese enterprises which are about to participate in Barbados infrastructure projects and extend their businesses in the Caribbean region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent years, the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Latin American and the Caribbean countries have been driven into a fast lane. China’s top leaders paid many visits to this region, and the 1st Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum in Beijing in January this year has made a great success. Together, China and CELAC countries are engaged in building a partnership of comprehensive cooperation characterized by equality, mutual benefit and common development. The US$ 1.5 billion preferential loans to our friendly countries in the Caribbean and the US$ 10 billion such kind of loans to CELAC countries, which finance infrastructure and development projects in the region, will be implemented by China EXIM Bank. The loan agreement signed today will not only greatly promote the bilateral practical collaborations between China and Barbados, but also bring new vitality into the partnership of comprehensive cooperation between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries.

I also would like to mention that, besides Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel, China and Barbados are negotiating several other major projects to be funded by China’s preferential loans, such as the reconstruction and expansion of Grantley Adams International Airport and the Pierhead Marina project in Bridgetown. I hope that the two sides, taking Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel project as an example, could push forward negotiations of further cooperation and continuously gain new achievements so as to bring more and greater benefits to our two countries and peoples.

Thank you very much!

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