UWI economist: Good opportunities for Caribbean-China trade

Economist Prof Roger Hosein. - File photo
Economist Prof Roger Hosein. - File photo

UWI Prof Roger Hosein says there are economic opportunities the region can explore with China.

Hosein made this observation on March 28 during a virtual seminar on China Caribbean Trade Trends and Implications for Regional Growth.

"There is still tremendous scope for Latin America and the Caribbean to engage China in a greater amount of economic activity via trade."

Hosein identified tourism as an opportunity which could have potential benefits for the Caribbean and China.

"One of the areas that I think that Caribbean people will have to pay much more attention to is those travellers from China. It is growing significantly in terms of numbers.

"This may be the right time to challenge the Chinese (tourism) market and to a lesser extent the Indian (tourism) market, because those are markets that are high and growing."

Virgin Islands University's Assistant Prof (economics) Dr Mark Werner agreed with Hosein about potential economic opportunities for the Caribbean with China.

He said while China has traditionally been a country of tea consumers, this has changed over time to facilitate those people who like coffee.

Werner wondered if this was not an opportunity for Jamaica to promote its Blue Mountain coffee brand to the Chinese market.

He added that the same argument could be made for Trinidad and Tobago and Carnival, which many Chinese people like. Werner said the steelpan has particularly fascinated the Chinese, and this could create opportunities for Chinese people to be taught to play pan or even have steelpans manufactured in China itself.

Werner said there can be no doubt that China is both an emerging economic and military player in global affairs.

He recalled this is vastly different from 1949-1976, when China, under its then premier Mao Zedong, was more internal-looking when it came to governance and world affairs.

Werner said China's outlook on the world and having a louder voice in the global conversation changed dramatically with the launch of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.

The objective of the BRI is to boost global infrastructural development by investing infrastructural projects in countries the Chinese government chooses to partner with.

As of August 2023, 155 countries have partnered with China through the BRI.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of those countries and the new Phoenix Park Industrial Estate, which was opened in Pt Lisas in January, is a BRI project.


"UWI economist: Good opportunities for Caribbean-China trade"

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