Monday 10 December 2018

Top Chinese official arrives in Ireland

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Colm Kelpie

A senior official with the Chinese Community Party - tipped as a potential contender to succeed President Xi Jinping - will arrive in Ireland today with a 250-strong delegation, with Brexit opportunities expected to be one of the talking points.

Hu Chunhua, party secretary of the economically-powerful Guangdong Province in the south east of the sprawling country, will spend three days here meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny, ministers, businesses and representatives of Ireland's third level and farming sectors. He will attend a business event organised by Dublin Chamber, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Chinese embassy in Ireland.

Guangdong is the most populous province in China, with about 106 million people living there. It is also a hugely significant economic hub, and the largest province by GDP in China. Its economy exceeds $1.1trillion, and it is home to the special economic zone, Shenzen. Mobile giant Huawei, which has operations here, is headquartered there.

Sources estimate that around 1,000 companies from Guangdong have invested in the UK. Brexit will likely raise questions about where they see their future.

The business event tomorrow morning will include addresses by Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, IDA boss Martin Shanahan and Enterprise Ireland chief Julie Sinammon. Two-way trade between Ireland and China was estimated at €12.38bn last year, up from €7.08bn in 2013.

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