Saturday 17 August 2019

Tanaiste travels to China for St Patrick’s Day

Simon Coveney is to promote links during visits to four of China’s biggest cities.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is to travel to China to mark St Patrick's Day (Brian Lawless/PA)
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is to travel to China to mark St Patrick's Day (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Lesley-Anne McKeown, Press Association

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will later begin a visit to China as part of St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

His six-day tour will include engagements in Hong Kong, Shenzen, Shanghai and Beijing.

Speaking ahead of his departure, Mr Coveney said he was optimistic the visit would further strengthen relations between the two countries.

“China is an increasingly prominent actor in global affairs, and increasing our mutual understanding on key bilateral and international issues, including Brexit, will feature prominently in my visit.”

Great Wall of China Feature

Mr Coveney is expected to meet senior political figures, promote business links, encourage investment and make a number of commercial announcements during the trip.

He added: “The opportunities for increased trade and investment between Ireland and China are immense, and will be further transformed with the establishment of direct flights from Hong Kong to Dublin from June 2018.”

His programme also includes an address to the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club and a meeting with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.

In Shenzhen he will visit the Huawei Technology Exhibition Centre while in Shanghai he will witness the signing of partnership agreements between Irish and Chinese education institutes and hold a number of meetings with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland clients.

The trip ends in Beijing, where Mr Coveney will take part in St Patrick’s Day celebrations which include the “greening” of the Great Wall of China.

He said: “It is a great honour for Ireland to have one of the greatest icons in the world, the Great Wall of China, join the global greening once again in 2018.”

Trade between Ireland and China is expected to have been worth an estimated 15 billion euro in 2017, more than double the value of trade in 2013, led mainly by increases in Irish goods exports.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has embarked on a St Patrick’s trip to the United States, attending a series of events in Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and New York during the course of this week.

PA Media

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