Beijing, 24 July 2013
Former Caribbean diplomat, Sir Ronald Sanders, has told a China-Latin American Forum in the Chinese Capital, Beijing, that “it would not be correct for China to place Caribbean countries in the same conditions as many Latin American nations”.
The think-tank forum was organized to discuss ‘business and investment co-operation between Latin America and the Caribbean’ and ‘how to advance holistic co-operation’ between the two areas.
Sanders argued that “while efforts at integration of Latin America and the Caribbean have started, they are at a very early stage of overcoming historical obstacles and impediments, and the smaller Caribbean economies continue to require special attention”.
A Senior Research Fellow at London University, Sanders argued that “in the last decade, most Caribbean countries have not enjoyed the same levels of economic growth, investment and trade as their Latin counterparts”, and any attempt to treat them “holistically” with Latin American countries would place them at a disadvantage.
Sanders welcomed a call for more intense dialogue at the inter-governmental level between China and all of Latin America and the Caribbean to tackle global issues, but he stressed that maintaining relations at the Caribbean level to facilitate development and growth remains extremely important.
The Forum was organized by the China Foundation for International Studies and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs. It was attended by Ministers and senior officials of the Chinese government as well as representatives of major Chinese commercial companies and diplomats.
In his remarks, Sanders also called for Chinese companies that want to do business in the Caribbean to consider “joint ventures with the local business community as well as public-sector-private sector partnerships”.
He said that such partnerships would give China a beneficial financial return over many years while ensuring that the local business community also participate and receive benefits.
The Think-Tank Forum concluded on July 23.