Beijing, China – Today, 26th October 2010, the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham met with Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress at Anhui Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
Both the Prime Minister and the Chairman emphasised the great importance of the existing relationship between the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China, and the advancement of this relationship to both countries’ mutual benefit. The Chairman noted that the simultaneous presence of Prime Minister Ingraham, President of the Senate, the Hon. Lynn Holowesko, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Alvin Smith, in the People’s Republic of China was indicative of the strength of the relationship.
Highlighting points in the diplomatic relations between the two countries from its establishment in 1997, the Chairman culminated with the most recent developments, including the execution of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) between The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China and the Loan Agreement with the China Export Import Bank for the Airport Gateway Project. In this regard, Prime Minister Ingraham thanked the People’s Republic of China for the speed in which its Government moved to conclude the TIEA with The Bahamas and reported that the design works for the road works are to commence shortly.
The Chairman noted that the Government of the People’s Republic of China fully appreciated The Bahamas Government’s concern on the labour component of the Baha Mar Cable Beach Re-development Project and that the Chairman was confident that the China State Construction and Engineering Corporation and the China Export and Import Bank (EXIM Bank) had no reservations with employing as many local Bahamian workers as possible on the resort development, so as to transfer knowledge and to develop the human resources in The Bahamas.
Finally, the Chairman noted the People’s Republic of China’s support for The Bahamas’ efforts to accede to the World Trade Organisation.
The Prime Minister and Chairman noted their satisfaction that the proposed Confucius Classroom at the College of The Bahamas is scheduled to be opened early in 2011.
Prime Minister visited for the first time the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Beijing and addressed a Reception hosted by the Embassy with representatives from the Diplomatic and Business community and Bahamian students present in Beijing.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Hon. Tommy Turnquest, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour and Social Development, H.E. Elma Campbell, Ambassador E&P of The Bahamas to the People’s Republic of China and Officials in the Office of the Prime Minister.