County Mayor John Paul O’Shea and Mayor of Xuzhou, Tiegen Zhou, signed the memorandum of understanding between Cork and Xuzhou, in the northwest Jiangsu province, as a high-profile Chinese trade delegation attended a business seminar in County Hall.
Xuzhou, midway between Beijing and Shanghai, is one of China’s most influential transportation hubs.
The visiting delegation includes senior representatives of a number of large companies based in Xuzhou and the wider province.
They were addressed at the seminar by leading business figures in Cork including Barrie O’Connell, president of Cork Chamber, who gave an overview of the region’s business strengths, Orla Flynn, the vice president for External Affairs at Cork Institute of Technology, Ronan Murphy, the chairman of it@cork; Kieran Evans of Dairygold, Seamus Fives of Pfizer and Tian Chen, the vice president of Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking.
The main focus of the seminar was to explore opportunities to develop economic, education and cultural links between Cork and Xuzhou, with the seminar paying attention to key trade growth areas including construction, food and beverage, ICT, energy, pharmaceuticals and transport.
Mr O’Shea said he was delighted to welcome the Xuzhou delegation to Cork after county officials visit the Chinese city last November.
“This return visit represents a golden opportunity for us to continue exploring potential business, education and cultural links between our two regions,” he said.
Cork County Council, he said, is focused on highlighting the economic development, education, tourism and cultural exchange potential which exists between Ireland and China and, specifically, between Cork and Xuzhou.
Developing a relationship with Jiangsu province is part of a South-West Regional approach, which has Cork City Council building a long-standing relationship with the Municipality of Shanghai and Kerry County Council developing a relationship with Zheijiang Province, south of Jiangsu.