The Chinese abbreviation of Trinidad and Tobago is “Te Duo” (pinyin), which means “Land of Abundance”.
“T&T has long enjoyed an abundance of natural resources, economic vitality, human resources, and cultural diversity. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, T&T displays an abundance of governmental stewardship, citizen fraternity, economic resilience, and international solidarity, as vividly demonstrated by the joint anti-COVID-19 efforts of our two countries,” Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to T&T Fang Qiu stated.
Fang Qiu assumed his role as the 14th Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago last year.
The Chinese government to help T&T in its COVID fight and has promised to donate 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines to this country.
This promised donation followed a phone call from the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre on March 16.
But this is just the latest in the ongoing bilateral relations between the two countries.
This year makes it 47 years since China and T&T have established diplomatic ties. The diplomatic relations between the two countries started on June 20, 1974.
“The friendship between China and Trinidad and Tobago has a long history. The two countries are good friends and good brothers that trust each other,” Fang Qiu said.
In 1974 T&T’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams visited China and in 2013 China’s President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to T&T.
According to Fang Qiu, T&T is the “economic locomotive in the Caribbean region” and plays a significant role in regional affairs.
President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the concept of an interconnected global community.
To date, 136 countries and 30 international organisations have joined the BRI.
T&T became the first English-speaking Caribbean country to sign on to the BRI on May 14 2018 during the official visit of Dr Keith Rowley to China.
China-T&T bilateral trade is the first to top US$1 billion in the region.
Chinese investments and enterprises have gained a significant presence here and contributed to the development of local industries.
Bilateral exchanges in culture, education, tourism, sports and media have been deepened and expanded.
Organisations such as the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus and activities like dragon boat racing and annual Chinese Spring Festival celebrations held by the Chinese community ignite local enthusiasm for Chinese culture.
A portion of Charlotte Street in Port-of-Spain has also been named Chinatown in honour of the Chinese presence here.
In his remarks in February, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne stated, “the statuesque arches, regal lions and lanterns are strikingly symbolic of the ties binding T&T and China. Chinatown is one of the planned fruits of partnership between PoS and Shanghai.”
Fang Qiu said 2021 is a brand new start for the two countries.
The ambassador said he was willing to work with T&T to promote further development between the two countries and “bring more tangible fruits.”
Fang Qiu said both China and T&T are entering new stages of national development, creating prospects of a shared future of “Abundance”.
Fang Qiu said there is an “abundance of public health. China and T&T have been fighting in brotherhood against COVID-19, supporting each other in morale and materials. I felt very proud that Chinese companies have done their part in constructing and upgrading the Couva and Arima hospitals, providing quality healthcare facilities to Trinis when the pandemic started to hit their shores. China has joined the COVAX facility, through which we will share vaccines with all the world, and developing countries in particular,” he stated.
The Chinese government has sent several medical teams over the past years to carry out exchanges here.
China has also been a leading producer of health-related technology such as remote diagnosis, medical robots, and other innovations. As passengers in the same boat, China and T&T should come together to build a common community with reliable public health for all our citizens.
There is also an “abundance of economic opportunities”, Fang Qiu said.
China has a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of more than 400 million.
Total imports into China are estimated to top US$22 trillion in the coming decade.
Fang Qiu said as President Xi Jinping emphasised at the 3rd China International Import Expo, “Our aim is to turn the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all.”
“China’s foreign direct investment flow in 2019, which is ranked second in the world, has been injecting valuable stimulus into the moribund world economy. The massive domestic market and foreign investment from China will continue to unleash enormous economic opportunities for China-T&T cooperation,” he stated.
Fang Qiu said there is an “Abundance of quality development”.
China will continue to focus on innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, meshing with T&T’s national vision of creativity, diversification and sustainability.
“It is our greatest dream to explore co-operation in e-commerce, e-governance, e-education, e-health, eco-tourism and eco-agriculture based on game-changing techs like 5G, AI, and environmentally friendly innovations. These are the driving forces shaping our future,” he stated.
He said there is also an “abundance of common prosperity.”
“Domestically, China has continuously upheld the people-centred philosophy of development and stayed true to our original aspiration to pursue happiness for our citizens, revitalisation of the nation, and harmony in the world,” he stated.
He said to this end, China is actively building a network of international partnerships as it works toward a shared future for all.
“I have discovered the same spirit in the national motto of T&T —‘Together we aspire, together we achieve’. It is our two countries’ common goal to create a better future of shared prosperity for our peoples and future generations. All of us are witnesses, beneficiaries, and builders of the ongoing development of China-T&T relations,” he stated.
“I have full confidence that, in this ‘Land of Abundance’, China and Trinidad and Tobago will work hand in hand towards a stronger relationship of ‘abundance’, bringing more prosperity and goodwill to both our countries and to the world. I am proud to be here in T&T to help realise this vision,” he stated.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang earlier this year announced that China would target growth of more than six per cent in 2021.
While China emerged from the global downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic on a surer footing than any other major economy, it still only grew 2.3 per cent last year.
From 1949 to 2018, China’s GDP increased by more than 450 times to US$13.6 trillion.
China is now the world’s second-largest economy, largest industrial country, largest trader in goods, the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves and the second biggest destination of foreign investment.