Cowen discusses financial crisis at Madrid summit

Taoiseach Brian Cowen will today be among 60 heads of State and Government discussing the global financial crisis.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen will today be among 60 heads of State and Government discussing the global financial crisis.

Climate change and the situation in Haiti will also be on the agenda at the sixth European Union – Latin America and Caribbean (EU-LAC) Summit in Madrid.

The bi-regional meetings are held every two years to strengthen the relationship between the two regions.

A Government spokesman said while in Madrid, the Taoiseach will also use the opportunity to meet bi-laterally with leaders of some of the LAC countries.

“He is also expected to meet with PM Zapatero of Spain in the context of Spain holding the current EU Presidency,” he added.

Elsewhere, Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith is travelling to Shanghai to support Irish companies exhibiting at SIAL China, the leading food and beverage exhibition in China.

More than 25,000 business representatives from 84 countries, including some 13% from the Asia-Pacific region, will attend the event.

Three Irish companies – Baileys, Kepak Group and Rosderra Meats – are exhibiting on the Bord Bia stand.

Mr Smith said China was a growth market for food and beverages which Ireland can supply.

“The Irish food and beverage sector is very much open for business and in a position to meet China’s demand for very high standards in food imports for its people,” he said.

“We have invested hugely over many years in food safety and quality production of food and drink.

“Together with the commitment and ambition of the food and beverage industry in trading on over 100 markets worldwide, this positions Ireland to develop the opportunities emerging on the Chinese market.”

While at SIAL, the Minister will host a reception at Porterhouse in the World Expo site for over 70 key customers of Irish food in China.

Later in the week he will travel to Beijing to meet the Minister for Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China, Han Changfu, as well as the Minister for Quality Supervision, Wang Yong.

Mr Smith will also meet trade associations and attend the official opening of the Irish Dairy Board office in Beijing.

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