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the chambers of commerce of the Caribbean and China to deepen ties and build partnerships.

CHINA TO BOOST REGION WITH $1B LOAN The Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Co-operation was held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and was attended by members of Caricom Governments along with the Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan . Qishan was accompanied by other senior government officials as well as a Chinese business contingent, which included business people from finance and investment, light industries and construction, high technology and manufacturing, mining and energy. During the two-day forum, the Chinese outlined six measures to strengthen ties with the Caribbean. The first area is in finance, where China where will provide US$1 billion in loans of a preferential nature for Caribbean countries to boost their economic development. China will set up an earmarked commercial loan of US$1 billion for the co-operation projects on infrastructure construction in the Caribbean. The second area is in “capacity building” where China will provide no less than 2,500 training opportunities for Caribbean countries and 30 vacancies for on-thejob training post-graduate programmes in China. The third area is in environmental protection and new energy. China will assist Caribbean countries in developing solar energy and other small new energy projects. In the fourth area, China will assist in culture, health and education by providing construction of schools in the Caribbean. The fifth area of co-operation is in the area of trade and tourism, where China has pledged support to encourage large exhibition of Caribbeanmade products in China. China also wants

In the sixth area, the Chinese has promised to send agricultural experts to Caribbean countries and launch demonstration agriculture and fishery projects. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture will sign the Common Initiative on Agricultural and Fishery Co-operation with the Caribbean counterparts to advance agro-processing and agriculture trade.


OECS BUSINESS COUNCIL NOW FULLY INCORPORATED The idea for the OECS Business Council was formed in 2009 and with the help of the ECCB. The Council is intended to be a representational private sector umbrella body. It will seek to bring to the attention of the OECS Heads of Government matters that affect private sector as well as recommendations. In September an Interim Conference was held in St Kitts. It was attended by various representatives of Chambers of Commerce including Antigua, Dominica, Anguilla, Grenada, St. Vincent and Kitts & Nevis. The purpose of that conference was to continue dialogue on the establishment of the fully operational OECS Business Council. Intended to serve to address the needs of the private sector in the OECS, since issues faced by each territory is similar, the primary function of the Business Council is to advocate for the OECS private sector and to represent them and their interests to the OECS Union and the ECCB.

Labour Commissioner Hesketh Williams says a report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) should have all in Antigua & Barbuda concerned. In a grim analysis issued in Novermber, the ILO said the global economy is on the verge of a new and deeper jobs recession that will further delay the global economic recovery and might ignite more social unrest in scores of countries. “We have reached the moment of truth. We have a brief window of opportunity to avoid a major double-dip in employment,” said Raymond Torres, director of the ILO International Institute for Labour Studies which issued the report. Williams said if the prediction is accurate that unemployment levels would rise, Antigua & Barbuda is up for a major economic struggle. He said unemployment was at its highest, and if any economic recovery is to take place, jobs need to be maintained and created. This he said is not currently being seen in Antigua and Barbuda. The Labour Commissioner said only foreign direct investment could pull Antigua & Barbuda out of its economic woes but warned that the country is unlikely to receive such investment, given the global economic situation.

BusinessFocus • December/January 11/12


Business Focus Antigua Issue 40  
Business Focus Antigua Issue 40  

As 2011 comes to a close and we enter 2012, the forecast for the world economy continues to be news of job cuts and hints of a "double dip"...