Trinidad and Tobago

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2013, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago made positive progress in practical cooperation across the board and their relations were brought to a higher level.

Political trust was strengthened. President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago from 31 May to 2 June, the first visit by a Chinese president to the region in the 41 years of diplomatic relations between China and English-speaking Caribbean countries. During the visit, President Xi met with President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona and had talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. President Xi and Prime Minister Bissessar witnessed the signing of three cooperation documents, met the press and attended the launching ceremony of the Couva Children's Hospital project undertaken by a Chinese company. President Xi also had a meeting with Speaker Timothy Hamel-Smith of the House of Representatives and President Wade Mark of the Senate.

In Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, President Xi had bilateral meetings with President Desire Bouterse of Suriname, President Donald Ramotar of Guayana, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados, Prime Minister Portia Simpson- Miller of Jamaica, Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas and Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada. President Xi hosted a luncheon for the leaders of Caribbean countries with diplomatic ties with China and had extensive and in-depth discussions with them on bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, new energy, education, health, agriculture, tourism, aviation, people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as regional and international affairs. President Xi made clear China's firm commitment to building comprehensive partnerships of cooperation based on equality, mutual benefit and common development with Caribbean countries. China, while actively implementing the measures unveiled at the Third China- Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, stood ready to step up support to Caribbean countries' economic development and would offer friendly Caribbean countries US$1.5 billion of concessional loans and US$1.5 billion of special loans for infrastructure development. In the next three years, China would build one or two agricultural technology demonstration centers, send to the Caribbean 100 medical workers, train 100 on-service MA candidates and provide 1,000 government scholarships. Caribbean leaders spoke highly of their friendship with China and thanked China for its long-standing support for Caribbean countries' economic and social development. They welcomed the new measures China announced for cooperation with Caribbean countries and expressed hope to deepen mutual trust, enhance cooperation and pursue common development with China.

In February, President Xi sent a message of congratulations to President Carmona on his election.

In March, leaders of Trinidad and Tobago sent messages of congratulations to President Xi, Premier Li and NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang on their elections. In June, Jairam Seemungal, Minister of State of the Ministry of Food Production, came to China for the First China-Latin America and the Caribbean Agricultural Ministers' Forum.

In May, China's new ambassador Huang Xingyuan presented his letter of credence to President Carmona.

Economic and trade cooperation made steady progress. Two-way trade rose steadily. Contracting and labor service cooperation was well under way. In April, Zhong Shan, Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce visited Trinidad and Tobago. In July, a delegation of the National Energy Administration visited the country. In October, the agreement on China's donation of container-detecting equipment was signed.

Cultural, educational, military and local exchanges were vibrant. In October, the first Confucius Institute in Trinidad and Tobago was unveiled at St. Augustine Campus, the University of West Indies. The delegation of "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring", the Wu Opera Troupe of Zhejiang and the Hongsheng lion dancing team staged performances in Trinidad and Tobago. The first China Movie Week and the "Beautiful China" photo exhibition aroused a lot of local interest in China. In June and August, a delegation of Guangdong Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and a delegation of Foshan visited Trinidad and Tobago. In September, the Minister of Culture of Trinidad and Tobago led a steel drum band to China for the ninth International Folk Art Festival. In October, senior military officers came to China for the Forum for Senior Defense Officials from Caribbean and South Pacific Countries.

Editor: 曹家宁