The Kamla Persad-Bissessar Government has asked both Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President of China Xi Jinping to assist in ensuring that a $5 billion loan application to the Export-Import Bank of China is processed expeditiously—within this fiscal year.
The fiscal year ends on September 30.
The money is to be used for six new special economic zones and a new transhipment port and dry dock.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at her St Clair office, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said both Chinese leaders had provided their personal assurances that the loan applications would be urgently processed by the relevant authorities in China.
“It should be noted that the construction and completion of these projects by March 2015 will bring significant economic benefits to Trinidad and Tobago including new economic infrastructure to spur the diversification of the economy and accelerate the development of the maritime economy,” she said.
Reporting on her recent trip to China, the Prime Minister said three memoranda of understanding and a protocol were signed in the areas of energy, sport and security.
The MOU in energy would facilitate cooperation on scientific, technical and policy aspects of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies through the exchange of ideas and information. Some of the main areas of cooperation include joint ventures and partnerships in oil and gas exploration and production and downstream energy projects, the assessment of the potential for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China, cooperation on the development and use of new technologies for natural gas, including LNG and CNG for vehicles.
Another MOU was executed between State-owned National Gas Company and Chinese company ENN Energy, which deals specifically with the implementation of the CNG initiative. The Prime Minister noted that China is a major producer of CNG buses and the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) is “actively exploring this market”.
In sport, the MOU would facilitate cooperation and exchange programmes in the field of physical education and its applied sciences, including the exchange of coaches, sport delegations, experts, technical advisors and specialists.
The Prime Minister said a protocol between Trinidad and Tobago and China concerning the sending of a Chinese medical team to work in Trinidad and Tobago was signed on February 25.
“The Protocol will facilitate the dispatch of a medical team of specialists from China upon receiving a request from Trinidad and Tobago to carry out medical work in close cooperation with their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts and exchange experiences through medical practice aimed at improving the delivery of health services to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.