A memorandum of understanding signed between the Department of Business here and its Chinese counterpart on boosting technology links between the two countries has not been ensnared by the trade war between President Trump’s White House and China, which involves allegations against China’s Huawei tech giant, the Government has said.
The MOU was signed between Skills Minister John Halligan and China’s Science and Technology Minister Wang Zhigang in Ireland and led to a meeting of the Chinese science and technology ministry, with Ireland’s Department of Business, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Science Foundation Ireland, as well as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
But it comes at a time of huge tension between the US and China over trade and technology.
President Trump has slapped billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese imports and his administration has accused China’s Huawei of effectively facilitating spying on western governments and corporations. Despite recent efforts to ease the trade tensions, the tariffs remain in place.
But a spokesman for the Department of Business here said the MOU renews an existing understanding from 2012 and “the text of the MOU was agreed last year but this was the first occasion we had to have it formally signed”.
“The MOU covers cooperation in research, innovation, science, and technology areas and does not deal with any specific trade or specific company issues,” the spokesman said.
“As the text was agreed some time ago, recent events regarding specific companies did not and does not have any direct effects,” the spokesman said.
Minister Halligan said he was delighted that China’s Science and Technology Minister was in Dublin.
“It is very fitting that we are signing this revised MOU to strengthen collaboration between our two countries during 2019, which marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Ireland,” the minister said.
“We look forward to working with Minister Wang and his ministry to build on the existing collaborative links between the two countries.
"We know that research and innovation can play a significant role in addressing the many global challenges we face — from tackling climate change and protecting the environment to responding to the challenges of an ageing society,” he said.