Bruton on a mission to China as trade links grow

Visit comes shortly after a mission to Ireland by Liu Junshan, a senior Communist party official

 Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton: leading 41 companies on a trade mission to drum up business with Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Asia

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton: leading 41 companies on a trade mission to drum up business with Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Asia

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 02:00

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton is in China this week leading 41 companies on a trade mission to drum up business with Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Asia.

The mission, which will include Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai before moving to the South Korean capital Seoul, has delegates from many industries, including medical devices, automotive equipment, agribusiness, software companies and network solutions firms.

The high-profile mission underlines the growing importance of trade between China and Ireland.

China remains a powerful draw for Irish companies. Two-way trade increased by 13.2 per cent last year to €4.95 billion, and China has been Ireland’s biggest trading partner in Asia for seven years, and it also operates a trade surplus. Last year Ireland exported€290 million worth of food and agricultural products to China.

The visit comes shortly after a mission to Ireland by Liu Junshan, a senior Communist party official. The Politburo Standing Committee member visited the farm of Tom and Geraldine Short in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.

When President Xi Jinping came to Ireland he did something similar.

“China is also restructuring its economy. There is huge potential and bright prospects for co-operation between our two countries,” Liu said after meeting the Taoiseach.

Ireland’s food industry has a strong reputation in China, and last month was one of the countries to pass an audit by the Chinese authorities under the country’s new food safety laws.

Beef and lamb

Minister of State for Agriculture and the Marine Tom Hayes met Liu and discussed efforts to gain access for EU beef and lamb to the Chinese market.

“This is a matter on which much work is ongoing, and I am pleased that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste are also raising it with Mr Liu as a priority issue for Ireland during this visit,” said Hayes.

“Last December a high-level delegation from my department visited Beijing for talks with the Chinese authorities on securing beef access building on Minister Coveney’s previous visit there, and we are hopeful of progress on this in the near future.”

Hayes also said that Chinese authorities this week have given the green light to initiate discussions on securing access for Irish sheepmeat.

The Chinese economy is slowing but increasingly it is clear that it is not set to suffer a hard landing. It is expected to continue to grow at a medium to high pace in the long term without the need for a strong stimulus.

China’s economy

During his visit to London this month Premier Li Keqiang said he expected China’s economy to grow by at least 7.5 per cent, which is higher than forecast by many, including the International Monetary Fund.

“There have been some discussions saying that the Chinese economy is slowing down; they are worried whether the Chinese economy will head to a hard landing. Here I will be very frank and I will also make this point very solemnly: this will not happen,” Li said.

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