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Exploring the First "Belt and Road" Project in the Caribbean Region

2023-11-22 | Xinhua


This is an aerial photograph taken on October 7th of the factory buildings within the Phoenix Industrial Park near the capital, Port of Spain, in Trinidad and Tobago 

About 30 kilometers south of the capital, Port of Spain, in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, sits a modern industrial park. As the first implementation project of the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation in the Caribbean, the Phoenix Industrial Park built by a Chinese-funded enterprise was recently completed and delivered to Trinidad and Tobago.

Situated at the La Brea Industrial Estate, the second-largest port in Trinidad and Tobago, the Phoenix Industrial Park is positioned as an environmentally friendly light industry park with high added value. In recent years, the government of Trinidad and Tobago has aimed to diversify its economy, addressing the issue of over-reliance on oil and gas resources and actively promoting the transformation of its economic structure, with a focus on non-energy industries.

"The Phoenix Industrial Park is crucial for Trinidad and Tobago, particularly in providing industrial space for light industry investors," stated Daniel Duncan, Vice President of Technical Development and Enterprise Development Limited, a special state-owned enterprise under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Trinidad and Tobago.

Constructed by China Beijing Construction Engineering Group and financially supported by the Export-Import Bank of China, the Phoenix Industrial Park is the first industrial park in Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve 5G network coverage. According to Wang Tao, the project manager of the Phoenix Industrial Park in Trinidad and Tobago, the park has laid an information express lane for the entering enterprises. Additionally, the park utilizes technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things to provide comprehensive support for the enterprises in five major areas: comprehensive security, convenient passage, facility management, energy efficiency management, and smart environmental protection.

"This is our first factory overseas," said Huang Qiuju, head of the Trinidad and Tobago branch of Guangdong Dongguan Samit Luggage Co., Ltd., the first Chinese enterprise to settle in the park. She told reporters that the factory is still in the trial production stage, having trained more than 20 local employees. After the formal operation of the two production lines, at least 50 workers will be needed to produce 1,000 bags daily. 

According to Huang Qiuju, the Phoenix Industrial Park, as the flagship of the "Belt and Road" initiative in the Caribbean region, boasts superior location and convenient transportation, connecting North and South America. Furthermore, the park offers favorable policies in terms of taxation and exports, making it "very attractive" to businesses.

Sigo Alleyne, Director of the Investment Promotion Agency of Trinidad and Tobago, informed reporters that the agency has organized multiple investment promotion activities for the Phoenix Industrial Park domestically and internationally. Currently, more than ten local and foreign companies have signed contracts to settle in the park, with many expressing their intention to do so. The investment promotion for the park is progressing "smoothly as expected."

In recent years, economic and trade exchanges and personnel exchanges between China and Trinidad and Tobago have become increasingly frequent. According to Alleyne, at the invitation of the Chinese side, the Investment Promotion Agency of Trinidad and Tobago recently sent two employees to China to learn about the development of economic special zones and integration into the global value chain. Upon returning to Trinidad and Tobago, the employees shared many practices worth emulating, allowing Trinidad and Tobago, striving for further participation in the global value chain, to see more development opportunities.

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Translated by Li Wei