Since China and Barbados formally established diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977, China-Barbados economic and trade relations have been developing steadily and mutual economic and trade visits have been increasing continuously, thus playing an important role in strengthening healthy and stable bilateral relations.
I. Important Mutual Economic and Trade Visits and Signing of Crucial Economic and Trade Agreements in Recent Years
The Government of the People's Republic of China attaches importance to developing economic and trade relations with Barbados, and actively promotes mutual economic and trade visits and signing of economic and trade agreements.
From May 14 to 19, 2000, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur paid an official visit to China. Premier Zhu Rongji held talks with him. Both sides signed an Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Barbados on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Tax Evasion.
In April 2002, at the invitation of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association Allan Fields led a 13-member delegation to visit China. The delegation visited Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and participated in the Canton Fair.
From September 2 to 12, 2003, Minister of Barbados Industry and International Business Dale Marshall and CEO of Barbados Investment and Development Corporation Vince Yearwood took part in the China-Caribbean Economic Management Seminar for Ministerial Level Officials in China and the China International Fair for Investment & Trade in Xiamen.
From September 30 to October 2, 2004, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Li Zhaoxing paid an official visit to Barbados. On October 2, accompanied by Acting Minister of Barbados Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds and Minister of Barbados Agriculture Erskine Griffith, Minister Li attended the unveiling ceremony of the newly renovated Cheapside Market. During Minister Li's visit, the Government of Barbados stated that it recognized China's full market economy status and hoped to promote full-scale economic and trade cooperation with China.
From January 27 to 31, 2005, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Mr. Yu Ping led a 50-member delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs to visit Barbados. A Forum of China-Barbados Entrepreneurs was held which strengthened steady development of bilateral economic and trade communications.
From February 2 to 5, 2005, the first Ministerial Meeting of the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum started in Kingston, Jamaica. During the meeting, China and Barbados signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Tourism of Barbados on the Facilitation of Group Travel by Chinese Tourists to Barbados.
From October 12 to 14, 2005, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China Mr. Liu Wenjie led a three-member delegation to visit Barbados. Vice Minister Liu met with Acting Minister of Barbados Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds and Comptroller of Barbados Customs Joseph Best. Discussions were held on establishing long-term friendly relationships between both Customs, and views were comprehensively exchanged on personnel exchanges, capacity building, customs procedures and other issues.
II. Bilateral Economic and Trade Relations
China-Barbados bilateral trade value has grown by a big margin in recent years, but the total value remains a small amount, most of which is export from China. According to statistics of the General Administration of Customs of China, China-Barbados trade value in 2004 amounted to US$10.62 million, up by 15.2%, of which export was US$ 10.38 million and import US$ 240,000, up by 13.1% and 4.4 times respectively; China-Barbados trade value in 2005 amounted to US$ 19.4 million, up by 82.7%, of which export was US$ 19.19 million, up by 84.9% and import US$ 211,000, down by 12.6%.
According to statistics (based on product origin) of the Statistical Service of Barbados, Barbados-China trade value in 2004 amounted to BDS $79.58 million, up by 20.3%, of which import was BDS $78.29 million and export BDS $1.29 million, up by 25.31% and 32.87% respectively; Barbados-China trade value in 2005 amounted to BDS $95.01 million, up by 19.4%, of which import was BDS $93.23 million and export BDS $1.7 million, up by 19.2% and 32.6% respectively.
According to statistics of the General Administration of Customs of China, conventional trade is the major part of China-Barbados bilateral trade. The conventional trade value was US$ 9.24 million in 2004, up by 23.9%, of which export was US$ 9.05 million and import US$ 190,000, up by 22% and 3.4 times respectively, and accounted for 87% of the total in the same period.
The major exports from China to Barbados are electromechanical products and textiles and garments. In 2004, exports of electromechanical products amounted to US$ 2.79 million, accounting for 26.9% of the total exports in the same period, of which exports of machinery and equipments amounted to US$1.16 million, up by 36.9%; exports of electronical appliances and electronic products amounted to US$112,000, down by 84.2%. Exports of textile yarns, fabrics and ready-made textile products amounted to US$1.69 million, up by 3.1%; exports of garments and clothes accessories amounted to US$ 743,000, up by 28.8%. In addition, exports of plastic products amounted to US$ 886,000, up by 39.7%.
In 2004, the major imports from Barbados to China were also the electromechanical products. The imports of electromechanical products amounted to US$ 147,000, accounting for 61.3% of the total imports in the same period, of which imports of instruments and meters accounted to US$ 83,000, up by 2.4 times; imports of electronical appliances and electronic products accounted to US$ 48,000, while imports of the same products in the previous year only amounted to US$ 1079.
(All the increases and decreases are compared on a year-on-year basis.)
III. Bilateral Economic and Technical Cooperation
Major economic and technical cooperation projects having been actively executed by the Government of the People's Republic of China in Barbados are as follows: Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium Project (1990-1992), Sherbourn Conference Center Fitting-up Project (1993-1994), Cheapside Market Renovation Project (2001-2002), Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium Redevelopment Project (1996-1997; 2005,7-2005,9), Home Vegetable Growing Experimental Center Project (1983-1987), Embroidery and Grass Weaving Project (1985-1987) and Feather Handicraft Project (1992-1995).
China is also active in promoting Training Courses for Officials and Training Courses for Developing Countries (TCDC) in Barbados. In 2005, altogether 6 officials and technical personnel went to China to participate in the various courses. In 2006, the training courses are being active on stream, and now 4 officials and technical personnel participate in them.
In addition, two Chinese companies have entered the construction market of Barbados, and they are China State Construction Engineering (Barbados) Corporation and China Jiangsu International Economic-Technical Cooperation Corporation (Trinidad and Tobago Branch). After years and years of struggling, both of the companies have established sound reputation in Barbados and have gained fairly good economic profits.