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Barbados – China discusses green transportation and trade

By Sheena Forde-Craigg

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (GIS) – Barbados and China discussed strengthening China-Barbados relations through transportation and trade. The discussion took place on Wednesday between minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Kerrie Symmonds, and chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Ren Hongbin, on the margins of the United Nations Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Global Supply Chain Forum, on at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Minister Symmonds pointed out that Barbados aims to transition its transportation sector to renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions and achieve sustainable development as part of Barbados’ efforts to become fossil-fuel-free by 2030.

Barbados received 59 electric buses manufactured in China, which were procured under the ministry of energy and business’ sustainable energy investment programme (Smart Fund II), 50 more were being ordered.

Symmonds also pointed out that due to disruptions in the global supply chain, Barbados had been hampered in achieving its fossil-fuel-free ambition due to a lack of access to renewable energy vehicles.

“The European vehicles, in many cases, you can’t get the alternative to the one that is the internal combustion engine, because it is not even available or not yet available in our market. And then in the agricultural sector, there are many which are still at the prototype stage, or they are now thinking about it.

“And when you get into your machinery for the fields and the heavy-duty lorries, tractors and big cranes for the construction sector and so on, … through the traditional supply chain we find ourselves lagging further and further behind because our traditional sources of supply are behind,” minister Symmonds stressed.

With regards to trade, the minister shared Barbados’ goal of becoming an air, sea, and logistics hub for the southern Caribbean.

Hongbin stated that CCPIT is the largest and longest trade and investment promotion agency in China with 30 representative offices in 30 countries, and shared that  it would be expanding its presence in countries.

“Our duty and responsibility for CCPIT is to promote bilateral relations, economic and trade ties with foreign countries. So, I feel that there is a huge potential here for businesses to be deepened and to be expanded between China and the Caribbean region. Of course, we can consider Barbados as a hub,” chairman Hongbin indicated.

Other areas discussed during the bilateral meeting included China’s International Supply Chain Expo scheduled for November 26 to 30, 2024; the one-China principle; developing green maritime transportation between Caribbean islands as part of the Belt and Road Initiative; and the potential for collaboration in areas such as renewable energy and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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



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