‘My best wishes for a successful Expo’
Address by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Ireland and China mark 40 years of diplomatic relations next year. Over those four decades, our two economies have been transformed by opening up to the world and endorsing international trade.
Bilateral relations between our two countries continue and are growing ever stronger. In this increasingly connected world, Irish companies are looking to Asian markets, and China in particular, as important destinations for our exports and as a source of investment.
I warmly welcome China’s plans to further liberalise trade and open its market to the world through initiatives like the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. I am really pleased the Chinese market is now open to Irish beef and that there are direct flights between Dublin and Beijing and Hong Kong.
I remember fondly my visit to China in 2014 as minister for transport, tourism and sport, and I look forward to returning. As a forebear of mine as Taoiseach once said, “events in all parts of the world, and new ideas and developments everywhere, can be of direct and immediate interest to our own people”. This is especially true of Ireland’s relationship with China, and vice versa. Our links are historical, cultural, social and economic. Today, the works of some of our greatest writers and poets, James Joyce and WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Oscar Wilde, are hugely popular in China, and in the same way, many of these people were influenced by the wisdom of Chinese writers and philosophers. These cultural links will continue to grow.
In Ireland, we believe we are at a moment in world history when we can open ourselves to opportunities and possibilities on a global scale that we never had before. For this reason, we have embarked on an ambitious strategy to double our global footprint, and double our impact by doing things differently, doing more things and doing them better. Over the next seven years, we will open new embassies and consulates around the world, expand some of the ones we have already, invest more in our agencies such as the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland, share our cultural offering around the world, build new air and sea connections, and welcome more international students to Ireland. We see ourselves as citizens of the world, as well as of Ireland.
Ireland will be represented at the China International Import Expo by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, who is leading a delegation of Irish companies and State agencies to showcase the best of Ireland to the growing Chinese market. I offer both the Irish delegation and the Expo organisers my best wishes for a successful Expo.