One of the highest level delegations to Ireland to date, the Beijing-Dublin Mutual Investment Forum was held this month, on the 11th of May in the Westbury Hotel. The forum led by Mr Cai Qi (Secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee), heard from a number of keynote speakers including Yue Xiaoyong ( Ambassador of China to Ireland), Julie Sinnamon (CEO of Enterprise Ireland), Eileen Sharpe (IDA Divisional Manager Growth Markets), Mary-Rose Burke (Dublin Chamber of Commerce), Domhnal Slattery (Avolon), and Dermot O’Leary (Chief Economist Goodbody Stockbrokers). The event was aimed at strengthening links between Dublin and Beijing, through exploring areas of potential cooperation and how to improve trade and investment.
According to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO, Mary-Rose Burke, there are numerous reasons for Chinese Investment in Dublin. “The Greater Dublin Area is the demographic, social, industrial, and economic heart of Ireland. As the engine of Ireland’s economy it is the ideal location for ambitious Chinese traders and investors. It is home to 40% of our population; it generates 53% of Irish GDP and accounts for 62% of tax revenue. Furthermore, Dublin is home to more non-Irish people than any other part of the country, with 21% of its residents born outside of Ireland. E.g. around two thirds of Ireland’s Chinese population live in Dublin.”
The forum, led by the Secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, Mr Cai Qi, had been co-organised by the Dublin Chamber in partnership with the Beijing Investment Promotion Bureau. This is one of many events throughout the year that the Dublin Chamber acts as an important partner to develop and link gateways for Chinese companies to the European market.
Wen Chen of the Ireland China Science and Technology Association, (ICSATA) which was established in May 2017, spoke about the opportunities for both Irish and Chinese business that are available between the two countries. “Ireland now becomes the only native English speaking country in EU after the Brexit. The coming direct flight between Dublin and Beijing will significantly boost the business opportunities between Ireland and China. Starting in 2020, Chinese will be an optional course for middle school students in the country, and it will become an exam subject in 2022.”
Ms Burke of the Dublin Chamber shared her optimism for the future of European-Sino trade with reference to Ireland’s ideal platform for Chinese investment in Europe. “Ireland is a trading nation, and we are living proof of what open markets can achieve. Free trade is at the core of our economic strategy, and we will continue to make the case for it in the years ahead. While some tempted by protectionism, China has spoken up to defend benefits of trade.
We were heartened by President Xi’s speech to the World Economic Forum last year, when he defended the positive role of global trade in driving growth and raising living standards throughout the world. The One Belt, One Road initiative announced by President Xi in 2013 promises a major move towards economic integration and cooperation across Eurasia, with significant implications for EU members like Ireland.”