Barbados and China Foreign Affairs Ministers hold talks

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Tourism, climate change and enhanced relations were the main areas of discussion during a meeting between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Barbados and the People’s Republic of China, Senator Maxine McClean and Yang Jiechi, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

During the courtesy call, Minister Yang noted that the potential for developing tourism both ways was “far from being fully tapped” and stressed that there was a need to collaborate more in that area. He acknowledged that geographical distance could be a hindrance, but said he hoped representatives in the industry in Barbados would work even harder to sell their product to his country. The Minister also promised that his government would encourage more Chinese to visit Barbados.

Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean met with her counterpart of the People’s Republic of China, Yang Jiech. Senator McClean is pictured receiving a gift from Mr.Yang.

Minister McClean agreed that the prospects with respect to tourism needed to be further explored and pointed out that Barbados’s Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, had already met with several industry officials while in Beijing. Noting that these meetings had been quite successful, she said that they would continue over the next few days in Shanghai.

The Minister added that the double taxation agreement between Barbados and China also created an excellent mechanism for exploring investment opportunities, particularly in the tourism sector.

The Foreign Affairs Ministers also spent some time discussing the potential challenges that could result from climate change. Senator McClean expressed appreciation for the role played by China in maintaining pressure internationally to implement measures to address climate change in a tangible way. She stressed the need for continuance of the Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at fighting global warming. The Minister also stated that Barbados was committed to addressing the issue and would continue to advocate for it to be dealt with.

Minister Yang said he was sympathetic to, and understood the views of Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean on climate change, especially as developing countries were its victims. He mentioned the need for greater unity between China and the region on this matter, and said developed countries should be urged to fulfil their obligations.

Minister McClean also took the opportunity to thank her Chinese counterpart for the cooperation over the years in the areas of education and culture, and for assistance to the Barbados Defence Force. In addition, she assured him that Barbados would seek to further strengthen their relations in those and other areas.

Barbados and China established diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977.

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