SOME 20 Irish businesses are on a trade mission to build links with China.
The food, drink, information and communications technology companies are visiting the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, led by the Irish Exporters Association's (IEA) Asia Trade Forum (ATF).
Chairman Hugh Kelly (right) said they hope to establish Ireland as one of Asia's preferred trading partners for EU trade.
"The IEA believes that exports have a critical role to play in Ireland's economy and, in particular, exports to the emerging and fast growing markets in Asia," he said. "Suzhou and Hangzhou are highly competitive cities experiencing rapid development."