(CNS): The premier went to work on his government’s goal to court Chinese investment Monday when he met with the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, at the Chinese Embassy in London. Alden McLaughlin is leading a delegation to the UK for Brexit talks with Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials but he wasted no time following up on his recent announcement that he hopes to see China and Cayman develop a closer relationship. Two other overseas leaders were also at the meetings, hoping to get in on potential business from China.
With the UK’s future departure from the European Union, the ambassador also seemed keen to work on building relationships with the British government and some of its overseas territories. According to a release from the premier’s office, he said the separation was a good time for his country to work with the United Kingdom – and by extension the Cayman Islands – to broaden its global business interests. By working with each other, he said, the countries could all benefit and broaden their mutual interests and draw on their respective strengths.
Liu Xiaoming said he would encourage China’s business leaders to look to the Cayman Islands for opportunities to expand business cooperation. McLaughlin, who revealed new visa waivers for Chinese visitors to Cayman on Thursday, said the two countries already had good relations, with significant Chinese investment and business in Cayman, and he was looking forward to increasing engagement with China in the coming weeks.
When he was in Cayman in January, Xiaoming confirmed a deal with Cayman for China to grant ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to the Cayman Islands registered ships entering Chinese ports.
Following the meeting with the ambassador Monday, McLaughlin and Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, who is in London with the premier for the discussions on Brexit, which are likely to affect his area of responsibility the most, had lunch with some of China’s business leaders.
Officials from the premier’s office said business leaders from banking, investment, infrastructure development, telecoms, insurance and renewable energy sectors in China were at the lunch.
Although the PPM is now courting Chinese investment, the party had opposed attempts by the former premier, McKeeva Bush, to strike a deal with one the world’s largest companies, China Harbour Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd, headquartered in Beijing, to build the cruise port.
The deal was derailed by the UK government but it was never entirely clear if the PPM’s opposition to the proposal was because of the lack of process surrounding the potential deal or concerns about the Chinese owning the local port.