Speech at ICBA Business Party to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Ties between China and Ireland

(Ambassador Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, 31 January 2019, Luttrellstown Castle)

H.E. Ambassador Mr. Eoin O’Leary

Mme. Susan Barrett, (chair of ICBA)

Mme. Caroline Devlin, (new chair of ICBA)

Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.

As we are going to celebrate the Spring Festival next week, I wish you all a happy and prosperous Year of Pig!

As an old Chinese saying goes, at the age of 40, one would become steady and surely smarter and wiser, meaning that when you reach the age of 40, you know where you go and you will be firm with your goal. That is also the case of our bilateral relations. After travelling our journey together in 40 years with so much acheivements, China-Ireland relations have become a model of friendship between countries regardless of their differences on social system, historical backgrounds and geographic sizes.

The 40 years also witnessed the fast growing of our bilateral trade and economic cooperation. According to China’s statistics, our bilateral trade volume in 2017 was $11.05 billion, with a 36.7% increase over that of 2016. In 2018, our bilateral trade has already reached to $14.51 billion, up by 31.23%. Such a high-speed growth in bilateral trade is not common among China’s trade with other EU partners. Moreover, in 2018, the Chinese government approved 6 beef processors in Ireland to export their products to the Chinese market, making Ireland the first EU beef exporter to China after BSE decease.

The two-way investment has also been on the rise. In 2018, 35 Irish companies have made new investment of $165 million in China and Chinese companies has invested about $73.8 million to Ireland.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote exchanges of goods, technology, capital and personnel through mutual connectivity and mutual learning so as to achieve coordinated development and common progress and to build a community of a shared future for mankind. China will host the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (the Forum) in April 2019, to strengthen practical cooperation in related fields under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. And we are expecting a high-level Irish government delegation to the Forum.

2019 also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the P. R. China. As the second largest economy in China will create more opportunities for Ireland and the rest of the world in 2019. We will continue to carry out the Reform and Opening-up, and to support multilateralism.

In the next five years, China is expected to import products and services worth more than 8 trillion dollars and our overseas investment will exceed $750 billion. In November 2018, the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai attracted over 3600 exhibitors from 172 countries and regions. The accumulative value of business intention reached during the CIIE amounted to $57.83 billion. In 2019, we are going to have the second CIIE, which will be the same size at the same venue and in the same date.

2019 is the year full of opportunities to expand our trade and investment. Apart from the Dublin-Hong Kong and Dublin-Beijing direct flights, we are going to have a new Shenzhen-Dublin direct flight launched on 25th February. This will further facilitate the people to people exchange as well as bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We will make good use of 2019 to lift China-Ireland relations to a new level. Let’s work together to open a new page for our shared opportunities and common prosperity.

Thank you.