Nations show strong mutual commitment to globalization
China and Jamaica, two strong supporters of economic globalization, have taken significant steps to strengthen their bilateral economic cooperation through tangible advancements in the Belt and Road Initiative and enhanced infrastructure projects, and their business ties are poised to be further enriched, according to experts and corporate executives.
To reinforce their mutually advantageous cooperation, both countries have expressed a commitment to advancing implementation of the Global Development Initiative and an eagerness to explore fresh avenues for growth, particularly in fields like the maritime and digital economies.
The GDI, proposed by China at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2021, is aimed at steering global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth.
Sun Xiao, secretary-general of the Beijing-based China Chamber of International Commerce, said Jamaica, with its abundant natural resources and untapped potential, perfectly complements China's advanced technologies and financial resources.
Sun said that as an important partner of China in the Caribbean region, Jamaica is keen on welcoming Chinese investments that can bolster its capabilities in several sectors, including healthcare, urbanization, industrialization, digitalization and the transition to cleaner energy sources, adding this collaboration plays a crucial role in supporting Jamaica's objectives, which include expanding exports, developing critical infrastructure, establishing modern service facilities and building sustainable solar and wind energy projects.
The BRI has played a positive role in adapting to restructuring of the global value chain and promoting the active participation of developing countries in the digital economy and green development, Sun noted, while Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said both countries have jointly advocated for reforms in global governance, actively participating in global and regional frameworks.
The foreign trade value between China and Jamaica jumped from $660 million in 2018 to $1.05 billion in 2022, according to statistics from China's General Administration of Customs, while bilateral trade soared 43.1 percent year-on-year to $845.95 million between January and August of 2023.
The Caribbean island nation's exports to China include bauxite, alumina, rum, lobster, coffee, tobacco, fossil fuels and lubricants. China ships mainly computers, telecommunications equipment, trains, steel, lighting products, medical equipment, building materials, textiles and household appliances to Jamaica, where Chinese passenger vehicles and trucks have also become popular in recent years.
BYD, China's largest new energy vehicle maker, has partnered with Jamaica's ATL Automotive to offer its vehicles in 10 Caribbean countries. ATL was formed in 1997 and began operations with a staff of 60. Today, it employees 600 people.
According to a deal signed in late June, ATL Automotive will take direct control of the sales and aftersales of BYD vehicles in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, Antigua, Saint Lucia, Guyana and Suriname. Neva Zhang, BYD's manager of Caribbean and Central American countries, said the time was right to reach a strategic cooperation agreement with the Jamaican company.
"In the coming year, together with ATL Automotive, we will complete construction of 10 showrooms and offer better user experiences, promoting sustainable mobility in the region," said Zhang, while Dong Yan, director of the trade department of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted: "With both China and Jamaica pursuing green, high-quality and innovation-led growth, the two-way investment cooperation is expected to be expanded from sectors such as agriculture, energy, finance, infrastructure and manufacturing to other fast-growing areas."
Dong said these areas include digital economy, trade in services, 5G, big data and cloud computing, with scientific and technological innovation as a driving force.
The digital economy mainly involves business resulting from the digital transformation of traditional economic activities powered by the internet, electronic means and data, according to information released by the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, the think tank of China's Ministry of Commerce.