The 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China recently. The NPC, the annual gathering of senior Communist Party cadres from all over China to listen to the leadership’s plans for the next 12 months, was a more muted affair than in previous years, but it gave valuable signals as to what kind of business environment Irish companies can expect in future. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Recent weeks have witnessed two events that affect Ireland’s trade with the world’s most populous continent. China’s National People’s Congress (NPC e(...)

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A child wearing a protective mask in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Beijing’s mayor Wang Hansen has said smog had made the capital “unlivable”. Photograph:  EPA

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China’s disgraced former security chief Zhou Yongkang, accused by the country’s top court in its annual report of ‘trampling on the law’ and causing ‘severe harm’.  Photograph: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

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With Irish milk exports to China worth €400 million, familiarity with China’s food safety rules has become a key requirement for food companies seeking to export there.

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The entrance to Shanghai Free Trade Zone. It was introduced nearly two years ago, but the trade zone concept has so far failed to take off in a meaningful way. Photograph: Reuters/Carlos Barria

As growth slows, reforming the business environment in China has become a plank of the government’s strategy to keep the economy on track, and Preside(...)

Chinese president Xi Jinping  and premier Li Keqiang  press buttons to vote during the closing ceremony of China’s National People’s Congress  at the Great Hall of the People  in Beijing. Photograph:  Feng Li/Getty Images

During the only news conference the Communist Party leadership gives on a regular basis, premier Li Keqiang used a graphic description for China’s eff(...)