Statement by Premier and Minister of Finance
Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE
at the signing of the
Strategic Cooperation Agreement between
BVI and Tianjin Binhai New Area CBD
21 October 2016
Leaders of Tianjin Commission of Commerce
Leaders of the Foreign Affairs Office
Hon Mr Wei Ming Zeng
Mr Ji Peng Shi, Deputy Secretary of the CBD Administrative Commission
Officials of the Financial Services Bureau of the Central Business District Administrative Delegation
Members of the BVI Delegation
Our mutual friend Mr Carson Wen
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning. This is truly a historic moment for the BVI, poised as we are to sign this Strategic Cooperation Agreement between the Administrative Commission of the Tianjin Binhai New Area CBD and the Government of the BVI.
Although your population and indeed your province are vast compared to the BVI, we share so much in common: we are both port cities so to speak – notwithstanding that the BVI is entirely surrounded by water, we are both keen to promote our financial services, our tourism, technology, a special economic zone and perhaps most significantly we are jointly committed to supporting China’s Go Global Strategy. Today I am pleased to confirm that our joint aim is to strengthen Chinese enterprises investment in the BVI, and to promote economic and trade cooperation between China and the BVI.
Since arriving in China last Sunday there has been plenty of discussion about how the BVI might work with the belt and road strategy so that your country’s objectives are met and our territory in turn might benefit from this strategy through our renowned and well established structures.
You are well aware that more than half of our financial services business originates from this region. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our offerings are transparent, legally sound and fit for purpose internationally. We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished. We therefore consider today’s signing as adding value through further diversifying those offerings. We share your development goals as set out in the MOU particularly as they relate to financial services as well as in the broader areas of technology, media, communications, infrastructure, real property, alternative energy and the like.
We also share your goals as they relate to time frames for the implementation of these activities. In the BVI a popular phrase goes: ‘talk is cheap, but money buys land’. Very often lofty goals such as contained in this MOU today fail to materialize because we do not put in place the resources – human in particular to make them a reality. I am hereby pledging that a multidisciplinary team led by our own Elise Donovan of BVI House Asia with support from a small team of BVI officials will work with a team that hopefully you will name to prepare a joint plan of action for the next three to five years.
Later on today I look forward to telling you about some of the areas that my Government has recently embarked on to diversify our financial services. The signing of this partnership agreement could not be more timely as it pushes us to move even more swiftly to implement our programme. You see many of the tenets of that programme may well be expanded to accommodate those expressed in the Agreement that we are about to sign.
China has long been our development partner in this region. A new relationship with Tianjin further solidifies that relationship. We in the BVI look forward to working with you further develop our countries for the mutual benefit of our peoples.