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Sunday 15 December 2019
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Govt, China sign loan for US$104m

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Goope-Scoon
Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Goope-Scoon

Chinese ambassador Song Yumin and Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dennis Moses have signed a framework agreement for a concessional loan between the governments for the development of Phoenix Park Industrial Estate.

The agreement was signed yesterday at the ministry at the International Waterfront Complex.

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon gave the value of the loan as USD104 million.

On the time frame for repayment, interest rate, and terms and conditions of the loan, Gopee-Scoon said: “That is still amateur for the Ministry of Finance in their negotiations with the China Exim Bank.”

She added: “It’s a concessional loan, so I’m sure it’s at a very low interest rate, but it is a matter for the Ministry of Finance in their negotiations.”

She said at least 1,000 people will be employed in the construction stage, and when the entire park is filled, some 5,000 people will get jobs there.

“There are already interested parties from China, TT, and we do have an anchor tenant from Latin America,” said Gopee-Scoon. “We have completed our prospectus and InvesTT, (an arm of her ministry) will be going to China to meet with Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) and our mission in China, where they will further market the park.”

This visit takes place in the third week in November.

Moses commended the Chinese for their continued assistance and support for TT’s development goals. He said: “To date, over 65 agreements have been concluded between our nations, and is a testament to our long-standing friendly relations.”

Moses added all such agreements signed in the past represented significant milestones, such as those for the National Academy for the Performing Arts, north and south, the national sporting facilities, the Couva Hospital and the acquisition of the multi-purpose patrol vessel used by the Coast Guard.

In the case of the industrial park, he said several tenants from central America have already been identified to start business operation in air-conditioning, automotive, heavy machinery, building transmutation and furniture.

He said, “This type of project truly embodies the spirit of the Belt and Road.” The Belt and Road a global development strategy followed by the Chinese government.

Yumin said the occasion was another highlight moment in economic co-operation between the two countries, and there will be many more projects to come, geared towards economic diversity and economic transformation in TT.

He said since the Prime Minister’s visit to China last year, relations have taken on a new level, and thanked the PM for his care and attention to co-operation between the two countries.

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert said of the project: “We always talk of diversification. This is diversification in its purest sense, and I think it will be a huge success that will generate exports and much-needed foreign exchange for TT.”

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