WILLEMSTAD – During his recent trip to the Netherlands, the Prime Minister of Curacao met with several Ambassadors in The Hague. This is what he reported .
Ambassador People’s Republic of China (PRC). Ambassador Chen Xu brought to Premier Ivar Asjes greetings from the Chinese leadership and indicated to look forward to the establishment of the Chinese Consulate General in Curacao. In that regard, he expressed the hope that the recognition and admission procedure will be completed in the shortest possible time.
Mr. Chen Xu also emphasized the complementary nature of the relationship between China and Curaçao. He pointed to the existing working relationship with Minister Plenipotentiary (Marvelyne) Wiels and said also to that he expects that Curaçao would be attractive to a large group of the Chinese tourist. Premier Asjes indicated that his government is urgently working on the approval and authorization of the Chinese Consul-General. He also referred to the trade mission last May of the (former) Minister of Curaçao Economic Development in the PRC. In that context Curacao wishes to establish itself as a solid foundation for Chinese companies which are interested in doing business with Latin American businesses.
Ambassador Republic of Panama. Ambassador Terán-Sitton brought to Premier Asjes greetings from President (Ricardo) Martinelli. The Ambassador said that his country’s economy is doing good, that the expansion of the Panama Canal is on schedule and that the metro system is being constructed. Ambassador Terán-Sitton indicated that from 1989-1991 he was the Minister of Health and that is why he knows that several Curacaoans have studied medicine in Panama. Mr. (Jose Manuel) Terán-Sitton announced its intention to visit Curacao.
Regarding the presence of Curaçao students in Panama, Premier Asjes announced that the policy of his government is aimed at stimulating studying the region. That is one reason to work on cultural ties with countries in the region, which may also result in trade relations. Premier Asjes promised at the end of the meeting to pick up again all topics discussed in 2011 during the 66th AVVN with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama (including the opening of a consulate in Curacao).
Ambassador Republic of Colombia. Ambassador Leongómez Pizarro began the conversation by stating that Colombia has great interest in Curacao not in the least because of the presence of a Colombian community in Curacao. In addition, with the expansion of the Panama Canal, the Caribbean regions (including the ports of Cartagena and Barranquilla) will be increasingly developed. Moreover, 20% of the Colombian population are of African origin and because of that Colombia will actively participate next year in the activities surrounding the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the departure of the last slave ship towards Colombia.
The Ambassador was of the opinion that Curacao could act as a bridge between Colombia, the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. The opening of the Holland House in Colombia in November 2013 will play an important role in this endeavor. Colombia received last year 15 billion dollars in foreign investment. In recent years, the country has also seen an economic growth of 4.5% per year. The expectation is Colombia will be the third largest economy in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.
Prime Minister Asjes agreed that Curacao can function as a bridge between Colombia, on one side, and the Netherlands, Europe, and on the other side. The Colombian businesses for example, could use the Curaçao financial infrastructure. Premier Asjes further indicated that his government, together with the private sector, is working on the positioning of Curaçao in the region. In this context, the Curaçao government recently approved the MoU, which was two years in the making, so that it can be signed with Colombia. There are all the necessary contacts in this respect with the Colombian authorities through the Colombian consulate in Willemstad. The trip to Colombia is scheduled for October and will possibly be combined with a visit to Panama.