By Pádraig Hoare
Irish firms looking to expand their horizons after Brexit received a boost with the pledge that the Chinese are ready to do serious business.
The potential for new business opportunities in light of Brexit was the focus of a special business round-table event in Dublin, with more than 250 companies introducing each other to potential business between the two nations.
The focus of the conference was on improving trade and investment links between Ireland and China and cooperation through innovation, and was organised as part of a visit to Ireland by Hu Chun Hua , the leader of Guangdong Province.
This visit constitutes one of the most high-level delegations from China to Ireland to date. Guangdong is the largest province in China by GDP and generates over 10% of the GDP for China. It is home to major city and special economic zone, Shenzhen -- which already has extensive links with Cork.
The roundtable event heard keynote addresses from Jobs Minister for Jobs, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon and CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan.
Seven memoranda of understanding were signed at the event between semi-state bodies, Chambers of Commerce and companies who have agreed cooperation. Mr Hu has also been accompanied on the visit to Ireland by a contingent of 150 companies from the Guangdong region who engaged in meetings with Irish enterprises to explore potential cooperation.
Dublin Chamber CEO, Mary Rose Burke said: “Two way trade between China and Ireland has grown from €7.1bn to €12.4bn over the past four years. In Dublin Chamber, we are predicting that there is huge potential to grow this further in the coming years, particularly in light of Brexit.”