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Minister 'confident' for future as China trip brings €35m deals

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny is interviewed by local media at Bejing's Tsinghua University yesterday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is interviewed by local media at Bejing's Tsinghua University yesterday.

Mr Kenny with National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo.

Mr Kenny with National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny is interviewed by local media at Bejing's Tsinghua University yesterday.

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton yesterday insisted he was "confident" new jobs would be created here following the high-level trade mission to China.

The Minister for Enterprise and Jobs said €35m worth of contracts and commitments were signed in Shanghai and Beijing during the past three days.

"The IDA also met with 16 companies and I look with confidence to some announcements in the reasonable near future," he said.

The contracts signed covered a wide range of sectors including clean technologies, mobile software, international services, healthcare, consumer products, education and industrial technologies.

In addition, a number of significant Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), which are essential building-blocks in developing business in China, were signed between Irish companies and their Chinese counterparts. These MoUs covered areas such as international education as well as financial and international services.

On the final day of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's four-day visit to China, Ireland and China yesterday signed a formal agreement to deepen economic and trade links.

In a joint statement, the Irish and Chinese governments said they intended to work together with the aim of boosting two-way trade and investment.

The agreement "sets out a framework to ensure mutually beneficial co-operation between Ireland and China in a number of important areas".

These areas include:

• Greater levels of two-way trade and investment for Irish and Chinese companies and investors.

• Attracting inward investment from China to Ireland which in turn can facilitate greater access to the wider EU internal market.

• Increased co-operation in the area of science, technology and innovation.

• Closer collaboration in the agriculture sector, including food and agribusiness.

• Greater levels of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, including in the education and research sectors.

Both countries also reaffirmed their commitment to respecting and safeguarding human rights and agreed to share expertise in areas such as governance and rule of law.

Mr Kenny said he "raised the issue of Chinese human rights with the Chinese political leaders. They also restated their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations". Mr Kenny said the agreement would put Ireland-China relations on a new level.

Earlier, IDA Ireland also signed a memorandum of understanding with China's ICBC Financial Leasing, a global leader in aircraft leasing and part of ICBC, the world's largest bank.

ICBC has been instrumental in assisting many Chinese companies to expand overseas in recent years.

Irish Independent