H.E. Ambassador Wang Zonglai in Interview with GIS
On August 31st 2011, H.E. Ambassador Wang Zonglai was invited to a special interview by Mr. Mervin Paul, Senior Information Officer of GIS on the forthcoming 3rd China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum. Ambassador Wang dwelled on the cooperation and friendship between China and the Caribbean region and with Dominica specifically.
 

 

Here is the transcript of the interview.
 
GIS: I know that the first and second China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum was held respectively in 2005 and 2007. Since then, China-Caribbean economic and trade cooperation has been developing quickly. Please brief us the progress we achieved in the past years.
 
Ambassador Wang: China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Forum is initiated by Chinese government and participated by China and countries in the Caribbean region. The forum is aiming at deepening mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation and achieving common development of China and the Caribbean region.
The first and second session forum was held in Kingston, Capital of Jamaica, and Xiamen, China respectively in February 2005 and September 2007.
China's practical economic cooperation with Caribbean countries can date back to the earlier 1980s. With the introduction of forum in 2005, the pace of our cooperation was quickened, thus produced notable results.
Since 2007, China has provided preferential loans worth of RMB 4 billion to partner Caribbean countries for bilateral cooperation in infrastructure building, resource development, industrial and agricultural production, tourism and telecommunications. The concessional loan, which Dominica government utilizes to construct the new Dominica State College, the housing projet and the State House, is part of the amount.
China has allocated a total of 2,000 trainees for Caribbean countries to assist in the training of government officials and technical professionals.
Our cooperation in agricultural production, education and healthcare has been strengthened. We've dispatched agricultural experts, Mandarin teachers and medical teams to Caribbean countries in need.
 
GIS: Dominica also benefited from China's practical cooperation with Caribbean Countries. Can you brief me more on the China-Dominica economic and trade cooperation?
 
Ambassador Wang: The economic and trade cooperation between China and Dominica is conducted under the double-track mechanism, namely through the bilateral channel and under the framework of the forum.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China has granted Dominica 4 major projects including the stadium, the rehabilitation of west coast road, the construction of New Town primary school and the housing project at Kalinago territory. 178 people visited China for trainings or seminars, and 110 students have been awarded scholarship from Chinese government.
Our two countries have also carried out fruitful cooperation in agriculture, medical, infrastructure. The agriculture cooperation is entering the fourth phase; the second medical specialist team arrived in Dominica this May. All those brought palpable benefits to our Dominica people.
 
GIS: When talking of China-Dominica friendship, people will think of the Winsor Park Stadium. Are you expecting more symbols of our friendly cooperation?
 
Ambassador Wang: The Winsor Park Stadium is definitely a symbol of the friendship between our two countries. Especially when I saw thousands of fans crowed the Winsor Park Stadium to watch the first cricket test match between India and the West Indies, cheering for their loved teams and players. I am delighted to see the stadium could play its due role in daily life of our fellow Dominican people.
There used to be another example of our cooperation- the Hillsborough Horticultural Center. Unfortunately, the center was completely destroyed by the raging waters of the Layou River following the breach of the Miracle Lake. It is a great sorrow to me, because 7 years' tremendous effort of Chinese and Dominican agriculture experts disappeared in one night, and because the destroying of the Center is a heavy blow to Dominica's agricultural sector.
China will collaborate with Dominica Government to the re-establishment of the agriculture center for our Dominican farmers and make it a new symbol of our cooperation in agriculture sector.
There might be other candidates for the title of "new symbol". It could be the west coast road, the new Dominica State College, and the new State House. It is up to our fellow Dominicans to Decide.
 
GIS: Let me back to the 3rd session forum, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago. Could you brief me more on the forum?
 
Ambassador Wang: The 3rd China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum is co-sponsored by the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is to be held on September 12th to 13th in Port of Spain.
This year's forum is themed upon "Development, Cooperation, Win for all". Development is put in the first place, which not only reflects that China and Caribbean countries both are committed to realizing UN Millennium Goal, but also shows that the goal of cooperation is to add momentum to our common development.
Eleven member states will attend the forum. The total numbers of participants are expected to be around 400, among which there are official delegations led by leaders from the member states, business delegations comprised of trade promotion agencies and entrepreneurs of China and Caribbean countries, and representatives from relevant regional organizations.
 
GIS: What will happen during the two days in Trinidad and Tobago?
 
Ambassador Wang: During the two-day forum, there will be an opening ceremony, a ministerial conference, China-Caribbean business conference, and the photo exhibition on achievements of China-Caribbean Economic and trade Cooperation. Here, I would like to mention China-Caribbean Business Conference again. Up till today, more than 130 Chinese entrepreneurs of over 90 enterprises have registered to the forum. Those enterprises are from various sectors such as engineering, construction, energy, finance, information technology and light industry.
There will be three specialized seminars namely cooperation in tourism, cooperation in agriculture and fishery and cooperation in finance and infrastructure construction. Those seminars will explore the potentials for cooperation and promote common development in respective fields.
China is looking forward to this forum, is actively making preparations for the final stage. I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, the forum will be crowned with success.
 
GIS: What can we expect from the forum?
 
Ambassador Wang: firstly I think the timely on-stage of the forum itself is a success. It provides an excellent venue for Chinese and Caribbean government officials, entrepreneurs and representatives of regional organizations to discuss and seek a roadmap for future cooperation and development.
Secondly, the forum will yield several important documents.
----Member states will deliver a joint statement, summarizing the consensus reached on the forum.
----There will be a joint statement on agriculture and fishery cooperation between China and Caribbean countries, which will give a down-to-earth analysis of challenges and difficulties and come up with concrete recommendations to future cooperation and common development in agriculture and fisheries.
----Participants will also summarize cooperation progress in tourism, finance and infrastructure, and propose the model, advice and project intentions for future cooperation.
In a word, the forum is destined to act as a catalyst for future economic and trade relations between China and the Caribbean region.
 
GIS: Why China and Caribbean member states propose to hold the forum this year?
 
Ambassador Wang: I would say the forum comes at the right time.
Firstly, China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Forum is planned to be held in participating Caribbean countries and China every 3 or 4 years. The first and second session forum was held respectively in February 2005 and September 2007. According to the arrangement, the forum shall be held in a Caribbean member country this year.
Secondly, while entering the second decade of the 21st century, the world undergoes complex and deep transformations. The world economy embarks on the track of recovery on a whole, but the momentum was not strong. The debt crisis in Europe, the downgrade of US credit rating, and the hovering of bulk commodity prices all add significant uncertainties to the recovery of the world economy. The international community still faces numerous challenges.
Against this situation, the international community is more and more aware of the importance of joint effort of coping with those challenges. China believes that the 21st century should be a century of peace, cooperation and development. We cannot survive alone. China and the Caribbean region should support and work closely with each other to promote common development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The forum provides an opportunity for us to express wishes and design actions.
 
GIS: The forum will have some positive influence on the recovery of the world economy, isn't it?
 
Ambassador Wang: Yes. When we have a review of the world economy, we do find some sparkles in darkness. China is one, and the Caribbean region is another.
China's GDP continued its growth in 2010, expanding by 10.3%. Although the growth is slowing and inflation is rising, the World Bank recently forecast that the China's economy was on course to expand by 9.3% this year, and it is the country most likely to maintain steady and rapid growth over the next five years.
The Caribbean region is gradually recovering from the Global Financial Crisis. According to ECLAC (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), the Caribbean region's GDP is expected to expand at 1.9% in 2011. This region will be the most potential economic entity around the world.
If China and the Caribbean region join hands, we will be a locomotive of growth to the world economy as a whole.
 
GIS: Based on what you say, I can draw a conclusion that, the forum will again fuel for growth of China-Caribbean economic and trade cooperation in the following years, is this true?
 
Ambassador Wang: It's true. At the forum, all sides will not only express their wills, but also reach concrete consensus for future cooperation.
China's practical economic cooperation with Caribbean countries produced notable results after the second forum session. Trade between two sides has surpassed 5 billion US Dollars in 2008, and expands with an annual rate over 15%. China has become a strategic trading partner for the Caribbean.
I believe that, after this year's forum, China-Caribbean economic and trade cooperation will be greatly accelerated. As ECLAC's report says, China will likely become Caribbean's second most important trade partner by 2015.
There is another important reason. China is implementing its "12th five-year" plan, trying to speed up the change in economic growth mode, making strategic readjustment of economic structure, boosting technological progress and innovation, improving the livelihood of the people and building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society. It will continue to open up, which will create a vast space for China-Caribbean relations and for China's cooperation with the region.
 
GIS: So with China-Dominica economic relations?
 
Ambassador Wang: The economic cooperation between China and Dominica is integrated into China-Caribbean economic and trade cooperation. It will surely grow together with region.
In the near future, we shall concentrate on the existing cooperation: to finish the project of the rehabilitation of west coast road; to construct the new state house and the new Dominica State College, which are funded by the Concessional Loan from China; to start, as soon as possible, the construction of new town primary school; to continue our exchanges in agriculture, medical cooperation and human resources, and etc.
This year's forum gives us a chance to advance our cooperation to new areas. Our two governments, entrepreneurs from two sides will explore the possibility of cooperation in tourism, finance, clean energy, geothermal resources.
Our two governments have the political resolution to further promote our relations. With the support from all circles, China and Dominica will develop together.
 
GIS: Some media have doubt on China's presence in Caribbean, what's your comment?
 
Ambassador Wang: There is no reason to doubt China's Cooperation with the Caribbean region.
China's is one of the Caribbean's development partners. For example in Dominica, China is helping to rehabilitate the west coast road, and the EU is sponsoring the construction of the new road from Canefield to the Melville Hall Airport. Brazil, India, Japan and other countries all aid the region in their own way. China's presence gives Caribbean countries chance to choose.
China does show its own characteristics while conducting aid. There is an old Chinese saying "Don't do to others what you don't want to be done to you". We respect and talk equally with our partners; we never impose decisions upon others; we never associate political preconditions with our aid. Those are right approaches, which China will adhere to.
China has always pursued an independent foreign policy of peace. We are playing an constructive role. We have no intention to seek hegemony, or replace anyone in particular regions. These are our basic national policies and strategic choices.
 
GIS: While approaching the end of today's interview, please conclude with a few sentences.
 
Ambassador Wang: The 3rd China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum is functioning as a platform. It promotes the healthy interactions between the governments and business communities of China and the Caribbean member countries.
One behalf of the Chinese Government, I warmly welcome friends from all circles in Dominica to the forum. Let us cherish this opportunity and work together to promote mutual understanding and trust, enhance business-to-business communication, interaction and pragmatic cooperation, and strengthen the friendship between the Chinese and Caribbean peoples. 
Suggest to a friend:   
      Print