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Visa-Free Travel Deal With China 'Tremendous'

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

VISA-free travel between China and the Bahamas was hailed as a “tremendous” step towards reducing the country’s dependency on North American markets as officials signed a mutual agreement yesterday.

Underscoring the milestone in diplomatic relations between the two countries, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said he remained committed to creating a similar agreement with the United States of America.

“What I’m working on is the US,” said Mr Mitchell, “that’s a big one for us from my point of view. Every time I meet them, I’m on them. 

“If 358,000 Bahamians decided to move to the states tomorrow, it wouldn’t make a difference to the population of the US, so I don’t understand what the visa requirements are there for,” he said. “So we’re trying to work on that and you know that’s a big nut to crack, but it remains an aspiration of mine to see whether that can be organised.”

At the signing yesterday, China’s Vice Foreign Minister H. E. Xie Hangsheng said the agreement evidenced the strong history of bilateral relations between the two countries, and signalled greater opportunities for increased trade and investment.

Expected to come into effect mid-2014, the agreement will continue indefinitely to allow citizens unrestricted travel without a visa for up to thirty days.

Mr Mitchell said: “The foreign policy of the Bahamas, from this minister, is to make it possible for seamless experience across borders for Bahamians around the world, and so getting a visa-free access to China is a huge improvement in that and adds to what we’ve already done.”

Baha Mar senior vice president Robert Sands yesterday called the mutual visa agreement between the government and the People’s Republic of China a bold and progressive move towards strengthening the tourist industry.

“We consider this an opportunity,” said Mr Sands, “for Baha Mar, and the Bahamas to begin to penetrate that market, to populate our gaming industry here in the Bahamas, secondly (Chinese) propensity to travel to unique, new, diverse, and integrated markets is unprecedented.

“In terms of what Chinese visitors represent in terms of their spend, first off they stay longer. The average stay is maybe three to four times that of a typical North American visitor, secondly they will contribute to two sectors: they are great consumers of retail, and they are prolific gamblers. They also participate in a lot of environmental tourism.

“The value of that over an extended period of time is tremendous,” said Mr Sands.

Comments

crawfish 5 years, 6 months ago

.......S I L E N C E..........

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SP 5 years, 6 months ago

Government is making another serious blunder.

The PLP and FNM cannot deal local criminals not to mention the Haitian crime syndicate that smuggle weapons, cocaine, people and only god know what else.

"All over the world, the Chinese mafia is known to be involved in human trafficking, prostitution, loan-sharking, gambling, murder and gun smuggling.

It also claims to offer protection to Chinese abroad for a fee. They are a sophisticated and dangerous group, whose influence cannot be ignored"

Read the article report below......

http://mafiatoday.com/tag/chinese-mafia/">http://mafiatoday.com/tag/chinese-mafia/

Here come REAL CRIME PROBLEMS..........Thanks PLP!

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ohdrap4 5 years, 6 months ago

just dont buy blood pressure medication or insulin from them lots of countefeit prescriptions can be found in nassau

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Bahamianpride 5 years, 6 months ago

How much did he make of this deal? Any chinese citizen of means can get a visa and vacation in the Bahamas so this is b.s. The chinese are everywhere looking to distribute there one billion + population around the world that's already flooded with there cheap goods.. If they are not doing this they are finding poor countries to strip of there natural resources to feed there damand for energy and supplies. They care only about money, live in a communist dictatorship and violate every human rights & enviromental law ever created.. And to make matters worse, they enjoy the taste of Dog & Cat meat, People Welcome to the Peoples Republic of China..

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john33xyz 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't care if anybody on earth eats dog meat or cat meat or any kind of meat - that's their taste buds. HOWEVER - EVERY other point that you make is exactly correct.

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john33xyz 5 years, 6 months ago

So, finally the REAL PRICE for our "FREE" stadium comes to light. Uhm. Don't drop the soap.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 6 months ago

This idiot Mitchell is too much of a creep to even appreciate the significance of his own silly remarks. He has the nerve to say: “If 358,000 Bahamians decided to move to the states tomorrow, it wouldn’t make a difference to the population of the US, so I don’t understand what the visa requirements are there for.” Well my little boy loving Mitchell, let's just see what creepy foolishness rolls off of your tongue when 5,000,000 plus Chinese soon make the Bahamas their home and displace all Bahamians forever! I can guarantee you my boy loving Freddie that THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! The ripple of Haitians washing up on our shores pales in comparison to the tidal wave of Chinese about to crash down on our country as a result of the insanity of boy loving Freddie and his very good and dear "friend" Perry "Vomit" Christie.

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ProfessorTinker 5 years, 6 months ago

Very good point. If he wants good relations with the US, why make visa deals with China.

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pat242 5 years, 6 months ago

Why Why Why are some my fellow Bahamians so negative. Bahamians often complain about reducing its dependence on the U.S.A without lowering the living conditions. Now Such opportunity has emerge and it is still a problem. Many country's around the world dream they have what Bahamians taking for a joke. I see it as a step forward for The Bahamas. For the persons who have a problem with it i will take my vacation in china and laugh in your face when i come back with items bought at a inexpensive rate and sell it to for a arm and a leg. Keep up the good work Mr Mitchel

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SurDavid 5 years, 6 months ago

Makes one wonder if the Chinese paid off the government.

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ProfessorTinker 5 years, 6 months ago

Hello fellow Bahamians, It is a crying shame that the people of Fox Hill continue to put Mitchell back in power. This deal with China will create very bad relations with the U.S. Like one comment earlier- Bahamians can't afford to go to China, much less pay to have goods ship from around the world. Furthermore cheap goods. This is a deal that will only benefit the Chinese. The Chinese just past a law the other day increasing the child birth allowance from one to two. Do we know what that really mean, they could double the population and be around 2 billion people. China is not in the best interest of the Bahamian people. I just don't understand why Bahamians set back and let these fools destroy the country. Believe me Baha Mar is only an invitation for the Chinese to invade the Bahamas. The Chinese is throwing around money because the money does not have any value in there own country. There is more than six hundred million people in China living below the poverty lines. About one hundred million or more eating from the dumps. Bahamians Be Careful!!!!!!!!!!.

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Bahamianpride 5 years, 6 months ago

The chinese are very clever, they will further leverage our country with tremendous debt and hold everyone hostage especially our corrupt politicians.. To pat242, this is a situation where Bahamian's should be negative and scared, you are dealing with the Great Vampire. Before u know it there will be oil rigs in our water drilling away, there fishing boats mercylessly fishing our seas, they will buy up multitudes of businesses, properties, and with this free visa flow employ there own people. They will slowy squeez out Bahamians and take over. Lastly aside from business, nobody wants to go to China, the air is polluted, the place is over populated and other than historical cultural monuments the Great Vampire has sucked it own land almost dry. Life for the majority of the Chinese population sucks. Working long hours under horrendous working condition with human rights violations at every turn. Living in substandard conditions with poor sanitation and nutrition. I can go on and on..

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islandmama 5 years, 6 months ago

We Bahamians need to organize a mass demonstration against all the corruption in this country. Please tell me how we can organize such a march on Parliament.

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TalRussell 5 years, 6 months ago

You have to wonder since China’s opening up and reform started back in 1980s, where there is no doubt that for some they are getting richer, why is it that so many Chinese still chose immigration to other countries over remaining at home. They still have serious questions about their own government's ability to provide their families with a better life standard.

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TalRussell 5 years, 6 months ago

Will you retain a long memory of each of the faces of government featured in this signature signing photograph, the Chinese government will.The problem is once Bahamaland's elected government accepted gifts on behalf of Bahamaland, from the "Communist" Chinese government, Bahamalanders will never have the access to scratch the surface of exactly what was agreed to. Once you start scratching back the surface of what's been agreed to, and expected, it suddenly gets pretty damn complicated. The Chinese maintain an index file on every member of Bahamaland's government, including civil servants, that they have ever/will come into contact with.

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pat242 5 years, 6 months ago

Bahamian pride. You are a idiot. The Bahamas is tourist destination. So the government is only doing what they need to do reference to bringing tourist to this country plus we get a pretty good deal in the package. You tell the Chinese to take back their investments which the former government allowed them to bring here. So you are wrong and you yes you are a asshole. you are so asshole bacteria can write better comments than you. ASSHOLE.

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 5 months ago

Man forget US visa. Get transit procedures for us to travel thru the us without having to go in front of a US immigration officer. We should just be able to walk thru to our next international flight as is done throughout the world....

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