|I have been saying all along...The Caribbean is a great place to invest & a Fun Place to get a Rest.|
China announced on Monday it will provide $1 billion in loans to Caribbean countries to finance infrastructure projects as it deepens ties in a region historically linked with the United States.
The loans will be made available through the state-run China Development Bank, China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan told a meeting of Caribbean and Chinese officials in Port of Spain, capital of oil and gas producer Trinidad and Tobago.
"China cannot develop itself in isolation of the world and the world needs China for its development," he said.
The financial help comes as many Caribbean countries struggle with stagnant economies hit by anemic growth in the United States and Europe, the traditional sources of investment and visitors for many of the region's tourism-dependent states.
China has stepped up its investments in the region in recent years.
The Chinese are already involved in a $2.6 billion resort project in the Bahamas which broke ground earlier this year. The Baha Mar project — one of the largest tourism developments in the Caribbean — is being financed and built by two Chinese government-owned entities.
China is also reportedly planning to invest more than $400 million to revive a stalled beachfront resort project in the Dominican Republic.
In Jamaica, the Chinese have invested more than $1 billion in one of the country's leading ports, a conference center, highway projects and a cricket stadium.
"China has become an important source of foreign direct investment for us," Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said recently.
Cuba is China's biggest trading partner in the Caribbean, and Cuban Vice Minister of Trade and Investment Orlando Hernandez Guillen praised the Chinese on Monday as a helpful ally to less developed countries.
"China represents hope for the poorest nations of the world and its impressive development springs from its own resources ... not exploiting or pillaging other nations," he said.
China's involvement in Cuba's economy is increasingly evident, with Chinese-made goods filling the stores and Chinese buses and cars a common sight on Cuban roads.
A unit of China National Petroleum is participating in a $6 billion project to expand and upgrade an oil refinery in Cienfuegos on Cuba's southern coast, with plans including construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal.
You don't find gold by focusing on all the dirt