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Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the Antigua and Barbuda delegation have recently returned home following a very productive ten-day visit to the People’s Republic of China.
During the trip, Prime Minister Browne had extensive discussions with Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Qiang and President Xi Jinping. As a result of these discussions, ten Memoranda of Understanding were signed, which will benefit the development of Antigua and Barbuda and strengthen relations between both countries.
The agreements signed include cooperation to enhance the Belt and Road relations, the global development initiative, and trade and investment cooperation. Infrastructural development agreements were also signed, including an exciting agreement for re-piping St. John’s and eventually all of Antigua and Barbuda.
The aging piping infrastructure will be replaced through the acceleration of the exchange of letters of commitment with the Chinese government.
The Prime Minister is confident that within the next 24 months, firm commitment for the funding of the re-piping project will be secured in order to enhance the water infrastructure and ensure a sustainable water supply.
Other agreements were signed covering digitalization, bio-medics, climate change, and an agreement with the Zhejiang International Studies University and UWI Five Islands Campus.
The Prime Minister believes that these agreements will enhance the relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China, not only at the macro leadership level, but also at the micro business level.
He visited several businesses in bio-medics and climate change to include electric vehicles, and he hopes to encourage at least two electric vehicle firms to do business in Antigua as the country seeks to transition from fossil fuel vehicles into EVs, in an effort to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
The Prime Minister is pleased with the trip’s outcome and is confident that the bilateral relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China will continue to improve.
Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister E.P Chet Greene expressed his excitement about the opening of Antigua and Barbuda’s embassy in Beijing, which he believes signifies a significant elevation in the relationship between the two countries. Greene is optimistic about the potential for further growth and development in this relationship, and sees it as a positive step forward for Antigua and Barbuda.
Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph was particularly impressed by the cutting-edge medical equipment he saw during the trip. This equipment is capable of diagnosing patients and predicting potential health issues such as diabetes and cancer, which could be life-saving for many people.
In addition to the embassy opening and medical advancements, there are also exciting prospects for young people in Antigua and Barbuda, thanks to agreements signed between China and the country’s National Cannabis Committee. Chairman Micheal Joseph is enthusiastic about the possibilities these agreements present.
The delegation that traveled to China also included ABS’s Garfield Burford and Lionel Max Hurst, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister. Overall, the trip was seen as a success and a positive development for Antigua and Barbuda’s international relations.