5 takeaways for the Caribbean from China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has opened up about China’s plans for developing international relations and policies during a press briefing in Beijing on March 7, 2024.

Wang spoke about the country’s plans following China’s Two Sessions, the country’s annual plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress and of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which are typically both held every March at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing around the same dates.

Here are five topics of discussion relevant to the Caribbean region:

1. Expansion of international trade and development

Wang said China intends to continue its plan of opening up with the development of more avenues for strengthening international trade and foreign relations.

He said from March 14, China will further extend, on a pilot basis, visa exemption to six countries including Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Wang said there are plans to organise more tours outside the capital city for foreign diplomats in China and to build more bridges for local governments and businesses to engage in international cooperation.

He said China also plans to work on the negotiation and signing of more high-standard free trade agreements, expanding a global-oriented network of free trade areas, and safeguarding the steady and smooth functioning of global industrial, supply and data chains.

Plans for expanding international trade include several key events including the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), the China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE), and the China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE).

Wang said they will continue to make the business environment “more market-oriented, law-based and up to international standards in an effort to stabilise expectations and provide longer-term benefits to global investors and partners”.

2. Continued expansion of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Wang said China will continue to give international development assistance via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He said since its establishment more than 10 years ago, the BRI has become the “most popular global public good and the largest platform for international cooperation”.

Trinidad and Tobago has launched the Caribbean’s first project under the BRI, the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate, which was commissioned late last year and already has produced its first shipment of cargo for North American markets.

Wang said:

“China will work with all parties to uphold the Silk Road spirit, deliver on the outcomes of the forum, and usher in a second golden decade of Belt and Road cooperation.”

Some of the main aims of the BRI include green infrastructural development via land, sea and air, and the development of a ‘digital Silk Road’.

3. More collaboration between BRICS, Global South

Wang said BRICS, an intergovernmental organization comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, now takes up over 40 per cent of the world economy.

He said China continues to be a steadfast member of the Global South, and this year there are plans for further collaboration with Asian, African and Latin American countries, especially with the China-CELAC Forum due to be held this year.

Some of the objectives of the China-CELAC Joint Action Plan for Cooperation in Key Areas (2022-2024) include:

The allocation of US$2 million from the FAO-China Trust Fund for South-South and triangular Cooperation to support CELAC Member States to address food security problemsSupport for the establishment of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency (ALCE)Development of tourism with CELAC countries via the participation in the China International Cultural Industry Fair (Shenzhen), China International Travel Mart and China Tourism Industry Exposition and enhance tourism opportunities between China and CELAC Member StatesProvide CELAC Member States with 5,000 government scholarships and 3,000 training places in China between 2022-2024

4. AI capacity-building for developing countries

Wang said China will continue a careful approach to the development of artificial intelligence, with a focus on an active and open approach to AI development with other countries.

“Our main focus is to ensure three principles are met. First, ensure that AI is a force for good. Development of AI should be conducive to the welfare of all humanity, in line with ethics and norms, in conformity with the rules of international law, and in keeping with the trend of human civilization. Second, ensure safety.

“AI should always be placed under human control, with constantly improving interpretability and predictability. For that purpose, plans should be made to assess and control various kinds of risks. Third, ensure fairness.

“An international AI governance institution should be set up under the UN framework and all countries should be able to participate on equal terms in the process of AI development and share in its benefits fairly.”

He added that capacity building is important for developing countries in the field of AI and there are plans to submit to the UN General Assembly a draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation on capacity-building of artificial intelligence in order to encourage technology sharing among parties, bridge the AI divide, and “leave no one behind”.

5. China aims to reduce carbon intensity by 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030

Wang said China continues its mission to combat climate threats via the Global Development Initiative as a boost to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

He added that China supports UN-led international cooperation on climate change and will make the “world’s biggest cut in carbon emission intensity in the shortest timeframe ever seen in history”.

China is the world’s largest annual greenhouse gas emitter.

According to Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate envoy, China’s CO2 intensity reduced by 48.4 per cent in 2020 compared to the 2005 level. The share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption reached 15.9 per cent in 2020, achieving China’s climate pledges for 2020 ahead of schedule.

At the UN climate ambition summit in 2020, President Xi Jinping said that China would “adopt more vigorous policies and measures” for 2030, including to lower CO2 intensity by over 65 per cent below 2005 levels.