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Columns : Letters to The Editor Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Understanding The Bahamas Pivot to China
By Latrae Rahming
Jan 7, 2015 - 1:20:39 AM

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The Christie administration's overall posture toward China has, in fact, evolved considerably over the course of the past couple of years and is now regarded as the "Controversial Pivot". China's economic growth over the past decade has been significant, their economy is now worth $17.6tn, slightly higher than the United States $17.4tn estimated by the International Monetary Fund, exceeding the economy of the United States after 140 years. The Prime Minister trip offers an opportunity to demonstrate The Bahamas commitment and friendship to The People's Republic of China (PRC).

The United States or China? For The Bahamas, that is now the primary strategic question. Focusing on The Bahamas foreign policy between these two countries is a renewed understanding, one represents the future and the other the past. The motivation for the pivot seems clear: the Latin America and Caribbean "center of gravity" is shifting toward China, and The Bahamas needs to respond. This is the only logical reasoning for such geostrategic pivot and a desire for The Bahamas to re-approach China.

From an economic perspective, a shift in focus is completely understandable; nevertheless the political fallout is undetermined. The Prime Minister's trip represents our country maintaining our alliance and economic interests with the People's Republic of China. The overall desire of the government of The Bahamas is a positive relationship with China. There is no country as vital as China to The Bahamas' future economic prosperity. The Bahamas engagement with China offers tremendous opportunities for our country if the relationship is leverage in our best interest. The Bahamas is seeking to expand its relationship with China recognizing that their economy offer significant prospects to secure our future as a leading Caribbean country. The Bahamas enjoys a long history of engagement with China in the areas of education, tourism, and investment. The government is capitalizing on their new Asia pivot for long term economic gain and development.

China continues to drive and influence trade and investment around the world, and will remain high priority country for The Bahamas. The government strategy, thus far, is increasing opportunities for our services industry, education and skill development, agribusiness, trade, tourism, and infrastructure development. This pivot is a significant moment between the two countries to deepen a more enduring relationship for mutual prosperity. The Christie administration recognizes the need to build a more strategic approach that embraces much more than a one-sided interest or benefit.

The Bahamas pivot to China underscores how fundamental investments are The Bahamas' continued economic growth and national wellbeing. The government engagement with China must be beneficial at all levels of our society. The Bahamian people should support the pivot to China as long as it is in the best interest of Bahamians. The Bahamas has to foster more diplomatic involvement with the PRC, which is mutually beneficial by identifying and pursuing trade and investment opportunities for Bahamians. The government has to leverage this bilateral relationship by influencing trade and investment policies where the country's interests properly represented. The Prime Minister would be making the right connection by establishing agreements for further cooperation in the area of research and development for The Bahamas. The pivot signifies the beginning of an engagement through trade, investment, tourism, arts, sport, education, and cultural exchanges.

The exchange of knowledge is an opportunity for our country and collaboration on policy development can facilitate better governance for The Bahamas. The government of the Bahamas aims to lead the way among its Caribbean neighbors by building a stronger and more comprehensive engagement with The People's Republic of China in a way that delivers mutual benefit, and contributes to positive and enduring relations. This new pivot and relationship with PRC is more than simply trade and investment; it strives to achieve genuine friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Understanding The Bahamas pivot to China simply means us capitalizing on an emerging super power to diversify our country's economic base, accelerate growth and create jobs in key strategic sectors. The gains of this relationship must be two-way, contributing to social and economic advancement of The Bahamas. Bahamians must proactive in identifying opportunities this relationship offers. The government of The Bahamas must maintain consistent direct diplomatic engagement with China. The Prime Minister engagement with China must actively support local Bahamian business identifying and pursuing trade and investment opportunities on their behalf. It is imperative that government build support from The Bahamian people through public advocacy and educational activities. The Bahamas pivot to China must maximize the opportunities and prudently manage the challenges that come with it. The government of The Bahamas must also acknowledge and denounce the perception and suspicions that exist around the country about a rising China.

University of International Business and Economics ( Beijing, China) " Student Government President"

The Beijing University of International Business and Economics, founded in 1951, is a national public research university specialized in economics, finance,  trade , foreign policy , management, law and foreign languages located in Beijing, People's Republic of China. UIBE is widely considered to be the leading Chinese university in economics, finance, and international business, as from 2011 to 2013 it ranked no. 2 among universities specialized on finance and economics.

CEO of Bahamaren " Chinese Consultancy Firm"

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