FRIDAY, APR. 20: Bermuda took an important step in building friendships and business relationships with entities in China this week.
Business Bermuda CEO Cheryl Packwood said this “is going to be a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. You don’t come to China and make a deal immediately. It could be a couple of years”.
She helped lead a delegation of Bermuda officials to Shanghai and Beijing this week. The delegation included: Wayne Furbert, Minister of Business Development and Tourism, Travis Gilbert, director of Business Development for the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism, Christopher Buchan, managing director of Emerging Asset Management, and Anthony D’Silva, managing director of Apex Fund Services.
Ms Packwood said one of the keys to doing business in China would be signing a couple of “additional agreements with the Ministry of Commerce”.
She said it would be necessary to sign a double-taxation treaty as well as an investors protection agreement and the delegation already met with Chinese officials and would be passing on the information to The Ministry of Finance to see if a deal can be negotiated.
“Once we can get a proper agreement in place, that will make it more efficient do to business between Bermuda and China.”
Ms Packwood said Bermuda has a very favourable reputation as a “pristine jurisdiction and they want to be able to come into Bermuda”.
Ms Packwood said the reception they have received was “phenomenal”.
The delegation has been busy making headlines in the press.
In both Shanghai and Beijing, Business Bermuda held press briefings for Chinese journalists to provide information about Bermuda and its international business community. This has resulted in media coverage in Chinese language media outlets and, so far, 23 syndicated news outlets that have reached at least an approximately 50 million people.
She said Minister Furbert was interviewed on CCTV, China’s national television station.
“The people are friendly and they want to hear about what Bermuda has to offer and how Bermuda can be beneficial to their outward investment. They don’t have a full comprehension of what offshore vehicles provide and this was an opportunity to provide that initial information.”
Ms Packwood was impressed at how prepared the press were.
“They read all of our materials ahead of time and they had very, very good questions for us.”
The delegation hosted a reception in Shanghai, which was attended by more than 60 Chinese business executives and government officials.
Ms Packwood and Minister Furbert also participated in the Chinese Enterprises Outbound Investment Conference (CEOIC) in Beijing, which is an annual conference organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). CCPIT invited Bermuda to be a part of this prestigious conference through contacts made during Business Bermuda’s marketing tour in Hong Kong last year. This year, the conference was attended by more than 1,200 delegates representing Chinese business interests, investors, and government entities with a focus on identifying international investment opportunities for China around the globe.
Business Bermuda was given an exclusive opportunity to participate in a panel discussion entitled, Invest in the Caribbean and Latin America, and presented several significant development projects in Bermuda in the Overseas Investment Project and Business Matching Seminar during the conference. Ms Packwood said she was able to give an example of Chinese companies who used Bermuda as an offshore vehicle
One of those companies is Haier, which Ms Packwood describes as the GE of China — and is now setting up manufacturing plants in Georgia in the US.
“That was one way to bring it home by making it up close and personal about the potential Bermuda provides.”