PM Briceno Returns from South Korea with Framework Agreement: Details Awaited
When Prime Minister John Briceno returned from South Korea last Friday he announced the signing of a framework agreement between the two countries. Having just landed at the airport, the Prime Minister did not delve into the details, and so we sought more information from CEO Dr Osmond Martinez who was a part of the Belize delegation.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “And when you look at the government of Korea, embracing Belize as a friend and one that they trust that by itself has enabled the environment for many components to be part of a successful equation. And some of these components are trade and investment, where the private sector now is very interested to come to Belize and look at opportunities where they can do more trade and investment. So for example, while Korea’s strength is technology, their weakness is that they don’t have enough fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are very expensive in Korea and that by itself opens a new opportunity for countries like Belize, a new market. And some might say, “oh, but the distance.” you know? And so what about an air cargo now? You know, exploring the opportunity of having an air cargo coming to Belize leaving the technology, you know, all the gadgets such as cell phones and Samsung computers and different science, well, different technologies and thinking about Belize know exporting on that same aircraft sending fruits and vegetables. Okay, so that’s one opportunity. The second one is the exchange of technical professionals. In other words, you know there will be an opportunity for more scholarships. So the scholarships program will definitely increase for Belizeans to go to Korea. When you look, for example, at the opportunities in Korea, they are huge.”
Another aspect of exchange between the two countries involves marine science, climate change and conservation.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “We had the opportunity to visit the Ocean and Marine University, which is in the city of Busan. And they’re doing a lot of research in the marine sector. Nonetheless when we think about Belize, you know, we have the second largest barrier reef in the world and the largest living barrier reef in the world but due to the increase in temperatures and the high rise in the water levels, our corals are in continued threat. Therefore, it is important that more research be done and so there will definitely be an exchange of scientists, or scientists can come from Korea and work along with our universities in this case the University of Belize, the Galen University, and even UWI. Then another equation, another component on that equation is the installing a KOICA’s office in Belize. So KOICA’s office is a corporation arm of the government of Korea. So when you look, for example, Taiwan has ICDF, Japan has JICA in Belize there are two offices that are in Belize, and Korea has KOICA. And by having an office like that here in Belize, it will definitely assist the especially the agro-productive sector and the technology sector to grow even more. But more important, the presence of having Korean technical exports in Belize will also assist in our development and get both countries a little bit closer.”
We will have more on this agreement in tomorrow’s newscast.