Jamaica Observer / EXECUTIVE vice- governor of Gansu Province in China, Huang Qiang, says his Government is ready to invest up to US$6 billion to develop an industrial park and special economic zone (SEZ) alongside JISCO/Alpart operations in Nain, St Elizabeth. Huang made the announcement at the signing of a framework agreement on February 1, which follows closely the non-binding agreement of Intent signed on September 21 last year between Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry and governor of Gansu Province in China, Tang Renjian.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who witnessed the signing, has given the project the full support of his office, as well as the Government. He has assigned Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, to work along with Henry and their Gansu counterparts, to expedite the further development of the project.

The signing followed a more than hour-long discussion between Holness and his team and a 10-man Chinese delegation. The delegation came directly from China with the sole intent of returning with a signed framework agreement for the development of the project.

The visiting party not only included the top brass from two of the world’s leading and largest construction and shipping companies — China Construction and COSTCO Shipping — but also the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, Niu Kin Bao, Chairman Chen Chun Ming of JISCO Group, and top management of JISCO/Alpart.

The size of the investment is of significance for both Jamaica and China, in that it is the largest investment ever contemplated in Jamaica, and it is the first overseas investment coming for Gansu Province. It is intended to move Jamaica from exporting raw materials to developing value added manufacturing and fabrication industries, led by the bauxite/mineral sector.

A spirit of cordiality, co-operation and commitment is said to have dominated the discussions, and resulted in Vice-Governor Huang inviting Holness, Henry and Chang to attend the premier construction conference in Gansu this September.

Jamaica and China have both agreed that the political, administrative and procedural preliminary activities will begin immediately, in order to be able to announce the next phase when the parties meet in China in September.

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