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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Ireland the 'Hong Kong of Europe' (2)

By Zhang Haizhou and Cecily Liu (China Daily)

09:19, February 21, 2012

Kevin Lynch, chairman of Ireland China Association, which is responsible for promoting trade between the two countries, said the country is also attractive for Chinese investors because it's the "Hong Kong of Europe".

"It is the only English-speaking country in the eurozone. So for Chinese investors wanting access to Europe, access to countries trading in the eurozone, Ireland is a natural fit," said Lynch.

According to him, both countries have very similar processes of development. While Ireland managed to transform a longtime agrarian society into a high-tech one in only 15 to 20 years, China is going through a similar transformation.

Noting dairy products, especially milk and baby formula, are becoming more popular in China, Lynch sees tourism and education as future areas to attract more Chinese.

Ireland's trade deficit with China increased in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, while exports and imports both fell, according to Eurostat figures published this week.

Between January and October 2011, the total value of Irish exports to China was 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion), while imports from China amounted to 1.5 billion euros. This compares with exports of 1.3 billion euros and imports of 1.54 billion euros in the first 10 months of the previous year.

The bulk of trade was accounted for by exports from Ireland of services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, office machinery and software, and imports from China of textiles and office machinery.

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