* The China-Caribbean Development Center was inaugurated in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, on Wednesday.
* The center is expected to strengthen China's cooperation with the Caribbean countries.
* Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that China and Caribbean countries have set an example of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development among countries of all sizes.
JINAN, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The China-Caribbean Development Center was inaugurated in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, on Wednesday, which is expected to strengthen China's cooperation with the Caribbean countries.
Three cooperation projects between China and Caribbean nations were also announced, which include the donation of anti-pandemic materials to the relevant countries, collaboration with Guyana on marine fisheries training, and the launch of an international information exchange platform to share successful cases of common development with people in the Caribbean region.
Photo taken on July 6, 2022 shows the unveiling ceremony of the China-Caribbean Development Center in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province. (Xinhua)
China and Caribbean countries have bolstered cooperation in many fields, of which the most conspicuous is trade.
"The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is so charming. It is what I have been looking for," said a comment on China's e-commerce platform JD.com. The taste originating from Caribbean seashores is favored by Chinese customers, who are willing to pull out their wallets for this exotic relish.
As the main distributor of Blue Mountain coffee in China, Shanghai Inter-Ocean Enterprise Co., Ltd. has participated in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) for four consecutive years, dedicated to spreading this Jamaica specialty to the Chinese market.
Photo taken on Nov. 6, 2018 shows Blue Mountain coffee products at the Jamaica pavilion during the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
"During the second CIIE, Jamaica was one of the guests of honor. Our sales volume on-site reached 300,000 yuan (about 45,000 U.S. dollars)," said Xu Hao, chief operating officer of the enterprise.
According to Xu, Blue Mountain coffee is winning more fame thanks to China's booming economy. During the 2018-2021 period, his company saw its annual sales volume surge by 600 percent.
"With China's excellent business environment, improved infrastructure facilities, and strengthened logistics systems, trade between China and Jamaica is booming," said Xu.
Visitors walk past the Jamaica pavilion during the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2019. (Xinhua/Yin Gang)
In late June, a batch of fresh garlic was exported from Shandong to Costa Rica, with a total value of 287,000 yuan. It was free of customs duty thanks to a Certificate of Origin of the China-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
According to Zhou Yi, manager of Jining Greenway Foodstuffs Company, since the FTA between China and Costa Rica was signed, the customs tariff rate of the company's fresh garlic has been reduced to zero from 14 percent, saving the company about 1.4 million yuan annually.
"Every cent counts. The cost reduction will help us win more orders and clients," said Zhou.
ANTI-PANDEMIC COOPERATION AND MORE
China and the Caribbean countries have fostered collaborations in more fields, including the fight against COVID-19.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier this year that Caribbean countries provided China with invaluable support when China's fight against the pandemic was at its toughest period.
After the outbreak of the pandemic in the Caribbean countries, China has also shared its experience in fighting COVID-19 without reservation, and provided batches of COVID-19 vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies to Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China, Wang said during a foreign ministers' meeting held via video link with nine Caribbean countries.
Wang said that China and Caribbean countries have set an example of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development among countries of all sizes.
China stands ready to work with Caribbean countries to promote peace and development, draw up a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and carry forward the friendship among the people, said Wang.
Photo taken on March 18, 2020 shows the venue of an online meeting on COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control among representatives from China and Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo by Esteban Dato/Xinhua)
Analisa Low, Trinidad and Tobago's ambassador to China, expected the two countries to cooperate in more aspects.
"Many large Chinese multinationals have established branches in Trinidad and Tobago," said Low, adding that the China-Caribbean Development Center can play a role in facilitating business cooperation and also technical exchanges in marine conservation and the development of the blue economy.
Shandong registered a total trade volume of around 519 million yuan with Trinidad and Tobago in 2021, up 33.4 percent year on year. In the first five months of this year, the trade between the two sides surged 151.4 percent year on year to 364.92 million yuan.
Anyin Choo, Guyana's ambassador to China, said China is a partner of the Caribbean countries, and that as an important platform, the center should continue to promote the development of relations between China and the Caribbean countries and bring the people of the two sides closer.
(Video reporters: Feng Yuanyuan, Zhu Xiaoguang; Video editors: Li Ziwei, Zhu Cong, Cao Ying, Zhang Yuhong.) ■