China key to our recovery, says Tánaiste

Gilmore begins four-day trade mission

Eamon Gilmore: “ China is a priority market for Ireland and strengthening our relations with China is critical to our exporters and to our economic recovery as a whole.”

Eamon Gilmore: “ China is a priority market for Ireland and strengthening our relations with China is critical to our exporters and to our economic recovery as a whole.”

Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 01:00


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore kicked off a four-day trade mission to China yesterday aimed at underlining the growing importance to Ireland of the world’s second largest economy.

“China is a priority market for Ireland and strengthening our relations with China is critical to our exporters and to our economic recovery as a whole,” Mr Gilmore said.

During his visit, the Tánaiste will have discussions with the China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and with Yu Zhengsheng, member of the standing committee of the Politburo, the top echelon of power in China.

His visit is the most senior by a member of the Government to China since the Taoiseach went in March last year.

Mr Gilmore pointed out how Irish trade with China was now worth more than €8 billion a year and there was a strong trade surplus in Ireland’s favour.

Beef trade
Among the issues he planned to raise was access to the Chinese market for Irish beef, and he would also discuss progress in EU-China relations, including ongoing dialogue on human rights.

He was scheduled to meet Chinese companies interested in investing in Ireland and potential partners for Irish exporters, including Shanghai Bright Foods, telecoms giant Huawei, Yanhua, Bank of Communications, Shanghai Invest and ChinaCache.

During the visit, UCD announced that it would continue its expansion in China with an agreement with Shenzhen University to establish a new international college in health sciences innovation.

This follows closely on the heels of the opening of the Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC) in September 2012 – a partnership between UCD and Beijing University of Technology, concentrating initially on computer science, engineering and finance.
UCD is also looking at an even larger campus development in the coastal city of Yantai focusing on agricultural, food and life sciences, and bioengineering when current negotiations with China Agricultural University and the Yantai municipal government are completed over the coming months.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) signed a twinning agreement with Beijing Capital International Airport, the world’s second biggest airport, which will allow the two companies to advance commercial and tourism links between the two cities.

More than 30,000 passengers per year fly between Dublin and Beijing with passengers typically connecting via a mainland European or Middle Eastern airport.

DAA has been talking to a number of Chinese airlines for several years in relation to the potential for improved links between Dublin and Beijing, aid DAA chief executive, Kevin Toland, who believes a direct service would help grow the overall market.