Conference aimed to strengthen China-Ireland economic ties held in County Kildare

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/6/15 9:44:36

A high-level conference aimed to strengthen the economic ties between China and Ireland was held in Ireland's County Kildare on Friday, attracting nearly 200 business leaders from both sides.

Sean O'Fearghail, chairman of the lower house of the Irish parliament, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong, former Irish prime minister Enda Kenny and former Chinese vice minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation Long Yongtu attended the conference which was held at Killashee House Hotel in the Naas town of County Kildare.

Addressing the conference, Sean O'Fearghail, who is a native of County Kildare, extended his warm welcome to the 140-strong delegates coming from the different business sectors of China. He said that the relationship between Ireland and China is "very good" and is improving all the time.

"One of the most significant aspects of the relationship between Ireland and China has been the number of the incoming Chinese delegations that we have met in this country over the last couple of years," he said, adding that over the last 10 days alone he had met three different Chinese visiting groups.

China has an interest in Ireland and it is determined to exploit that interest, he said, adding that Chinese investment in Ireland last year increased by 200 percent.

Chinese ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong in his speech said that great progress has been made in China-Ireland relations since the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1979, particularly over the last decade or so.

In 2018, the value of the goods trade between China and Ireland reached 14.5 billion US dollars, more than doubled than that of 2015, he said, adding that the lift of the ban on the Irish beef exports to China last year as well as the recent opening of the three direct flight services between the two countries will serve an impetus to the further development of the economic cooperation between the two sides.

Long Yongtu, who is also the co-chairman of Sino-International Entrepreneurs Federation (SIEF) which organized the conference, said that this is the first time that SIEF has picked Ireland as a venue for its annual European conferences since the first of its kind was convened in 2008.

He said that SIEF has made the right decision to hold its 10th Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit in Ireland as he himself and the delegates from China both see a lot of business opportunities in the country, particularly in the fields of science and technology, food industry and tourism among others.

SIEF is a global non-profit, non-partisan organization incorporated in Switzerland and headquartered in Beijing.

Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit is one of the summits regularly held by SIEF with the aim to promote the partnership between the business leaders of China and Europe. SIEF also holds annual conferences in Africa and Australia on a regular basis.

Former Irish prime minister Enda Kenny also addressed the conference.

During the one-day conference, delegates from both sides explored the cooperation opportunities mainly in the fields of investment, finance, banking, education and agriculture in the forms of panel discussions and speeches.


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