PM says no new loans from China

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness, who returned to the island yesterday after an eight-day working visit to China, has said cooperation on infrastructure development with that country will continue, but without any new loan programmes.

Instead, infrastructure projects will take the modalities of joint venture partnerships, public/private partnerships, or private sector transactions directly between Jamaican firms and Chinese firms as the normal course of business, the prime minister said in a release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) yesterday.

“Under the new cooperation framework, investments will be more strategic and focused on the development of special economic zones and logistics hubs, urban centre development, water and sewerage, agriculture, and affordable housing,” Holness said.

According to the prime minister, these areas are strategic for investments because they could be pursued on an open, profitable commercial basis, within fiscal incentives allowed by the law and without Government necessarily incurring more debt or having to take an equity stake.

He also noted that the areas were strategic because they aligned with the Government’s objectives of stimulating growth, creating jobs, and building resilience in Jamaica’s economy.

Besides exploring other areas of cooperation agreed upon under their new strategic framework, which also includes an agreement to focus efforts on increasing trade, particularly to encourage more Jamaican goods and services to be exported to the Chinese market, Jamaica’s current cooperation framework with China was also reviewed. Holness had bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping in Shanghai and with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.

Prime Minister Holness welcomed China’s willingness to open its markets to more goods coming from Jamaica other than bauxite, and the interest in investing in the Jamaican economy.

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