Irish firms urged to 'get out there and win business'

Mon, Mar 26, 2012, 01:00

REPRESENTATIVES from nearly 90 Irish firms were yesterday urged to “put on their green jerseys and get out there and win business”.

At the start of a four-day visit to China by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan told members of a trade delegation that Ireland was “going to become a major trading partner with China”.

“This is Team Ireland on tour. Going forward, China must become a key business partner for Ireland.”

Mr Ryan echoed an earlier speech by Mr Kenny who described Ireland-China trade as a “win-win” for both countries, and said the trip was “extremely important”.

Liam Casey of PCH, which is Ireland’s biggest exporter from China, addressed the delegates earlier. “There is opportunity here but you have to come and get it,” he said. “Know why you are here and know what you want to do – do you want to manufacture or sell into China.”

Richard Barrett, managing director of Treasury Holdings, and also chairman of its Chinese operation, Treasury China Trust, is a long-time China veteran and has seen trade delegations come through before.

“Looking at the companies that are here, it’s an improvement on before because the companies have capacity to do business here,” said Mr Barrett. “They are definitely going to business here, the attitude is better, because they have to be here.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, who has been in southern China for several days and has met senior Irish business figures in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in the past few days, said he had been very impressed by what he had seen.

Gina Quin, chief executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, has made multiple visits to China. “The visit is a phenomenal opportunity, one you need to focus on to meet the contacts,” she said.

During the recent visit to Ireland of vice-president Xi Jinping, who is expected to become president later this year, the Dublin chamber signed a co-operation deal with the China Association of Trade in Services (Catis), which is holding an event in May in Beijing.

“As the Taoiseach said, export is the key to success and the Catis is a very good hub to start work for the Asia markets,” Ms Quin added.

The Taoiseach was due to officially launch the Shanghai office of Morgan McKinley, the global professional services recruitment firm, which already has 70 people operating in China.

Education is always a key aspect of Ireland’s offerings to China.

Seán Rowland of Hibernia College signed a memorandum of understanding with Prof Yang Ke of Peking University during Xi Jinping’s visit on an academic joint venture to provide postgraduate education in medicines development and regulatory sciences across China and southeast Asia.

“We are definitely open for business,” Dr Rowland said. “We are meeting clients in the pharmaceutical business to talk about boosting the number of projects. We will meet Peking University especially on health sciences.

“The market here is huge for us, and technology makes what we do here so scalable. We’ll continue to grow here,” he added.

John Cronin, chairman of law firm McCann FitzGerald, said his company was hoping to act as a resource for the Government in trying to drum up work for Ireland.“It’s a very long game. If you are patient, it will reward you and now there is a real co-ordinated effort,” he said.