The visit offers the Tánaiste the opportunity to enhance political relations with this important Asian partner, to make progress on trade and investment opportunities, to support our growing education and cultural links, and to connect with the Irish community in China.
Speaking before his departure, the Tánaiste said that his visit to China reflects the strength of the relationship that now exists between Ireland and China.
“I hope that my visit now, as well as the ongoing work that Team Ireland is doing, will strengthen this relationship even further. China is an increasingly prominent actor in global affairs, and increasing our mutual understanding on key bilateral and international issues, including Brexit, will feature prominently in my visit. The opportunities for increased trade and investment between Ireland and China are immense, and will be further transformed with the establishment of direct flights from Hong Kong to Dublin from June 2018. I hope to build on this increasingly strong connection between Ireland and China and am optimistic that we will make visible progress during this visit.”
The six day visit will take in four major cities. It begins in Hong Kong, where the Tánaiste’s programme includes an address to the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club and a meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Mrs. Carrie Lam. In Shenzhen the Tánaiste will visit the Huawei Technology Exhibition Centre. Huawei has R&D centres in Cork and in Dublin. The Tánaiste will later travel to Shanghai, a city twinned with Cork, where he will witness the signing of partnership agreements between Irish and Chinese education institutes and hold a number of meetings with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland clients.
His visit concludes in Beijing, where the Tánaiste will participate in St Patrick’s Day celebrations, including witnessing the Greening of the Great Wall of China. Expressing his appreciation to the Chinese authorities for their support, he said:
“It is a great honour for Ireland to have one of the greatest icons in the world, the Great Wall of China, join the global greening once again in 2018.”
While in Beijing, the Tánaiste will engage in an extensive programme of events, including meetings with senior Chinese political figures. It will also include events to promote Irish companies seeking to develop business in China and to encourage Chinese businesses to invest in Ireland, as well as a number of significant commercial announcements. He will also meet with the Irish community in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.
Trade between Ireland and China is expected to have been worth an estimated €15bn in 2017, more than double the value of trade in 2013, led mainly by increases in Irish goods exports. Ireland is one of only three EU countries with a trade surplus with China, in both goods and services.
The Tánaiste’s programme is a collaborative effort from Team Ireland in China (which includes Ireland’s Embassy in Beijing, Consulates in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and teams from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, and Tourism Ireland in China).
Team Ireland supports Irish interests, companies and institutions in China, across trade, investment, finance, education, food and agriculture, scientific research, tourism, culture, community activities and people-to-people links.