Analisa Low, Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the People’s Republic of China （Photo by Lu Ningyuan）
Located at the southern end of the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad and Tobago is a country of abundant resources, picturesque landscapes and great cultural diversity. The country’s charming steel pan music and carnival have gained popularity around the world. In November 2021, Analisa Low took office as Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to China. Low said, most of our two peoples know little about the deep exchanges between our two countries. As an ethnic Chinese, she expects to work to improve bilateral exchanges during her tenure.
“In Trinidad and Tobago, Cha Shaobao It is very popular”
Trinidad and Tobago and China have a centuries-old friendship, which can be represented by the family stories of Analisa Low, the ambassador. Little introduced, the two countries had shared a long and significant history of people-to-people and cultural exchanges before their diplomatic relations were officially established in 1974. In 1806, Chinese emigrants arrived in Trinidad and Tobago for the first time, which marked the First organized colony of the Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. Low’s grandparents moved from Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, China, to Trinidad and Tobago in the late 1940s. “After arriving in Trinidad and Tobago, most Chinese emigrants set up businesses to make a living while trying to learn English to fit in with the locals.” Whether they are shopkeepers, restaurateurs, small vendors, or people working in commodity sales, imports and exports, and agriculture, Chinese people from all walks of life in the country are an integral part of the local communities.
Trinidad and Tobago girls dressed in costume for carnival (Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the People’s Republic of China)
Although far from their hometown, the Chinese community in Trinidad and Tobago has endeavored to transmit traditional Chinese cultural values and customs to their descendants. The ambassador said Chinese culture is deeply embedded in Trinidad and Tobago’s society and culture, which can be seen from the bustling Chinatown of its capital, Port of Spain, where the streets are lined of various shops opened by Chinese people, with the flavor of Chinese cuisine lingering in the air. “In Trinidad and Tobago, Cha Shaobao is very popular and is called ‘pow‘ by locals and is as well received as wonton. Additionally, local Chinese people often gather to celebrate traditional Chinese festivals such as the Spring Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival. »
These years have seen deeper mutual political trust and continued pragmatic cooperation in many fields between China and Trinidad and Tobago. Low has witnessed many significant moments in bilateral relations: In June 2013, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago, which was the first leg of his visit to the Americas since entering function of President Xi. In May 2018, Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago paid an official visit to China. During the visit, Trinidad and Tobago became the first English-speaking Caribbean country to join the Belt and Road Initiative. “Based on our strong bilateral relationship, I will continue to work to strengthen ties and friendship between our two peoples,” Low said.
Pigeon Point in Tobago (Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the People’s Republic of China)
“China’s new development philosophy deserves high praise”
Low had visited China several times before assuming her duties as Trinidad and Tobago’s ambassador to China. Among other things, the development of infrastructures and the images of cities impressed her greatly. “I have been to Guangdong and Zhejiang (provinces of China) many times and witnessed the rapid development of many cities in China. When I returned to some cities, I did not even remember what they looked like. one year ago.” According to Low, many Chinese cities are interconnected economic hubs where airports and modern hotels are equipped with the most advanced facilities. “It seems that wide roads and modern public transport systems were built overnight.”
Low said big changes have also taken place in the Chinese people’s way of life. “What surprises me the most is that e-commerce has grown in popularity in such a short time in China.” Due to the rapid development of mobile Internet, smartphone applications such as WeChat and Taobao have become people’s necessities, making their work and life more convenient and efficient. Low remembers that 20 years ago, on the streets of Shanghai and Guangdong, people had to hail a taxi by waving and almost all vendors only accepted cash. “But now people can book a taxi or buy high-speed train and plane tickets through smartphone apps. And customers can easily pay by scanning the vendors’ QR code while shopping.” Low said she herself “does like the Chinese do” and “after arriving in Beijing, I learned to shop online very soon.”
The ambassador also said she was honored to have a front row seat to take a closer look at China’s innovative, green and digital development. From his point of view, “China’s new development philosophy deserves high praise and is in line with our national vision of strengthening the construction of its innovative, diversified and sustainable development capacity.”
Foreigners in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province actively participate in locally sponsored folk festivals. Pictured, Abrielle (first right) from Trinidad and Tobago attends a Peking Opera performance at the Talent Family in Jiangbei District, Ningbo. Photo of Zhang Yongtao (People’s Photo)
“Cooperation with Chinese e-commerce platforms is being planned”
Despite the geographical distance between the two countries, China and Trinidad and Tobago enjoy increasingly close cooperation and exchanges. Low said that over the years many Trinidad and Tobago products have had their presence in China: asphalt produced in Trinidad and Tobago has helped build many streets, bridges and airport runways many countries around the world, including the streets of the Beijing Ring Road, the runways of Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport, as well as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge; quality rum and other products from Trinidad and Tobago are also appearing on Chinese e-commerce platforms, helping to increase options for Chinese consumers.
According to Mr. Low, while Trinidad and Tobago has abundant energy resources and is one of the world’s largest exporters of ammonia, methanol and liquefied natural gas (LNG), our two countries have great potential. cooperation in the energy sector. A crucial manufacturing and industrial base in the Caribbean region, Trinidad and Tobago also produces world-class rum, chocolate, spices and chili sauce. At last year’s CIIE, many products from Trinidad and Tobago caught the attention of Chinese consumers. “We plan to attend the fifth CIIE this year to exhibit our special products,” Low said. “Cooperation with Chinese e-commerce platforms is being planned to bring quality products to Chinese consumers. Manufacturers in Trinidad and Tobago are focused on improving their export capacity and are ready to take take advantage of the potential of China’s huge market and its diverse demands.”
A culmination of bilateral cooperation between China and Trinidad and Tobago over the years, the Phoenix Park industrial zone in the central and western part of the island of Trinidad has been under construction since March 2020. Trinidad and -Tobago, among other Caribbean countries, has taken the initiative to join the Belt and Road Initiative. The Phoenix Park Industrial Zone is of great demonstration significance as it is the first project to be implemented in the Caribbean region. “The Phoenix Park Industrial Zone, with full 5G mobile network coverage, acts as a major engine to boost the diversified development of the country’s economy. The project has promoted the development of non-energy sectors such as high-energy manufacturing. value-added, light manufacturing, emerging industries including logistics and warehousing, and information and communications technology,” Low said. “The Phoenix Park Industrial Estate has helped promote the development diversity of our national economy, and that means a lot to Trinidad and Tobago.”