China is Ireland’s largest trade partner in Asia and Ireland wishes to grow the mutually beneficial trade ties with China, said a senior Irish official here on Friday.
Damien English, Irish Minister of State for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, made the remarks while delivering a video speech from his Dublin-based office to an event held at the ongoing first China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE or Hainan Expo) in Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province in China.
Addressing the event designed to promote the Irish consumer products and strengthen cooperation with trade partners in China, the minister said that Ireland and China enjoy a mutually beneficial trade relationship that has grown steadily over the years and that growth continued throughout 2020.
Both Irish goods exports to and imports from China witnessed double-digit growth in 2020, he said, adding that last year China was Ireland’s largest trade partner in Asia and fifth-largest trade partner in the world.
“Agri-food is a very important aspect of Ireland’s exports and trade. I hope we will continue to see that aspect of trade to continue to grow between our two countries,” he told the participants of the event, including senior officials of Hainan Province and the Irish ambassador to China.
English said the EU-China agreement on geographic indications, which has listed Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream among other brands of products, will help protect the reputation of Irish whiskey in the Chinese market.
In the speech, he also said that he was delighted to read through the development plans of Hainan and wished Hainan Province as well as Hainan Expo every success.
An island province in the southern part of China, Hainan is the largest special economic zone in China and has been tasked to build itself into the largest free trade port in the country.
Slated for May 7-10, the Hainan Expo has attracted nearly 1,500 exhibitors from around 70 countries and regions, including over 15 companies from Ireland.