The Chinese Ambassador addressed how The Bahamas and China could further improve their relationship

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(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Her Excellency Dai Qingli was the special guest speaker at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s November Business Luncheon Meeting at Pelican Bay Resort, November 16, 2022.  She spoke about the China/Bahamas relationship and expounded on ideas of how to improve that relationship further.

Her Excellency said that China hosted a few events last year in an effort to improve trade between her country and The Bahamas. One of those events was the trade and investment project, which included a match-making event. The event brought together Bahamian and Chinese companies in certain sectors.

“This year, we conducted a special event, focusing on resolving the logistics issues between our countries for smaller orders of Bahamian business leaders,” said Ambassador Dai Qingli.

“There are lots of opportunities there. But we started to be less sure of how we should go about making the most of these opportunities. Different ideas have been raised, particularly regarding Grand Bahama. One of the ideas was making Freeport a distribution center, a center for warehousing or a manufacturing center for The Bahamas, covering the entire Caribbean region and even the southern part of the United States.  We hear all kinds of interesting ideas.

“There is a compelling logic for increasing trade between our countries. We all know of the inflation pressures and the cost of living crisis, not just in The Bahamas, but in many developing countries. There is the debt crisis. China provides a lot of goods, especially everyday materials and different light industrial goods for the rest of the world. So, if you buy directly from China, you will save a lot.”

Ambassador Dai Qingli noted that according to the latest figures, trading with China only accounts for seven percent of the Bahamas’ total trade. That, in light of the fact that China is the third leading trading partner for The Bahamas.

She suggested that The Bahamas tap into its productive capacity by becoming more self-sufficient in many fronts, with the most obvious area to be agriculture. To show its support, Her Excellency said China is working with the UNDP on initiatives to expand backyard farming.  She further suggested that climate change and new energies are areas in which China and The Bahamas should work more closely together.