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Ireland pins high hopes of closer trade cooperation on CIIE: Ambassador

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    17:27, November 05, 2019

Eoin O'Leary (L), Irish Ambassador to China, speaks at the 6th China Inbound-Outbound Forum 2019 held in Beijing on Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo provided by CCG)

Both Ireland and China have embraced the global, multilateral economy and will make joint efforts to deepen trade cooperation, Irish Ambassador to China Eoin O'Leary told People's Daily Online during the 6th China Inbound-Outbound Forum 2019 held in Beijing by the Center for China and Globalization.

As the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), which is scheduled for Nov. 5-10, kicked off in Shanghai on Tuesday, the ambassador shared his high expectations for the event, saying that the CIIE increases the trade exposure of Irish companies in China and helps boost trade cooperation between the two countries.

According to O'Leary, the two countries have enjoyed strong trade ties over the years. Many electrical goods, clothes and shoes imported by Ireland come from China. Meanwhile, Ireland exports many products to China, including chemicals, computer chips, and food, he said. He noted that Ireland had just approved a further 14 Irish meat plants to export beef to China.

During the first nine months of this year, the total value of goods traded between China and Ireland reached $12.9 billion, up 20.9 percent year-on-year, marking a growing momentum of trade between Ireland and China.

The ambassador also praised the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for its role in creating enormous employment opportunities, which gave fresh impetus to the development of participating countries, especially Africa.

Current Chinese policies, including BRI, are focusing more on environmental sustainability to make sure that issues like climate change do not overtake development, Eoin said.

One of the major challenges of the BRI is to aim for sustainable development, said the ambassador.

"The Chinese government is praised for pushing development at the start of the agenda. It's important now that the delivery ensures that there is a return not only for China but also for the countries it assisted," O'Leary said.

Eoin O'Leary, Irish Ambassador to China, poses for a photo during an interview with People's Daily Online in Beijing, Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo by Xian Jiangnan/People's Daily Online)

According to the ambassador, China is a founder of civilizations, with great philosophical ideas, profound history and unsurpassable arts including ceramics and paintings.

"I think it would be very difficult to understand the world without having some understanding of China," he said, adding that more Irish people are now learning more about China and Chinese culture.

"Next year, Mandarin Chinese will be put under the Leaving Certificate, which is our equivalent to the Gao Kao. So we hope that in five or ten years, there will be a significant number of Irish people who have mastered rudiments of Mandarin," he noted.

Expressing his congratulations to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the ambassador applauded the astonishing development China has made over the past seven decades.

"When China opened up to the world in 1978, it accounted for 1 percent of the world economy. Now China [accounts for] 12 percent of the world economy. China's infrastructure has been developed to a level that nobody would have expected. Now 1.4 billion people are living way better. It's been a great achievement," noted the ambassador. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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