Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I would like to start off by thanking the Ireland China Business Association for inviting me to address you today.
I know that the Ireland China Business Association does significant work in building and promoting networks and relationships between China and Ireland. It is clear that economically China will continue to grow and that there will be significant opportunities both in China for Irish firms and opportunities for the international expansion of Chinese firms. It is essential that Irish firms are well positioned to embrace any opportunities as they arise.
I am particularly pleased to see the International Financial Services Strategy 2020 as focus of today’s event. Trade diversification and increasing our economic links with Asia and particularly China is something that we are keen on developing further as part of IFS2020.
The International Financial Services 2020 Strategy was launched in 2015 with a vision for Ireland to be recognised as a global location of choice for specialised international financial services, building on our strengths in talent, technology, innovation and excellent client services.
The Strategy aims to increase the numbers employed in international financial services by 30% over the five years of the Strategy. This 30% equates to 10,000 new jobs in the IFS sector. In the first two years of IFS2020 we have seen a 13% increase in the numbers employed in IFS, placing us on track for achieving our jobs target by 2020.
Opportunities in Asia
In light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU we must now more than ever expand our horizons and look across the globe for new opportunities. I am well aware that Irish firms are flexible and ready to meet any challenges that may arise, Irish firms have always looked beyond the UK and I have no doubt you will all find success in new markets.
Asia as a region and China in particular is an area with immense opportunities for Irish firms, my predecessor Minister Eoghan Murphy TD met with many Enterprise Ireland client firms while in China and saw first-hand how Ireland is strengthening economic links with China. I also hope to travel to Asia to continue to promote Ireland for inward investment while also encouraging the growth of Irish firms who have a foothold in the region.
Both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have been instrumental in ensuring Ireland builds close relationships in China and both agencies are determined to continue to enhance cooperation between Ireland and China in the area of financial services.
In fact in the last twelve months or so we have seen a number of significant developments in respect of Ireland and China’s economic relations.
In December 2016 the People’s Bank of China granted Ireland a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor quota or an
‘RQFII’ quota. A quota of 50 billion Renminbi of investment was granted. This is equivalent to approximately €6.8 billion that can be invested in Renminbi denominated securities.
RQFII was a key development as part of IFS2020 in enhancing Ireland’s environment for the funds industry, in turn making Ireland more attractive for foreign direct investment. The quota allows Irish-domiciled financial institutions to invest in China’s domestic bond and equity markets using China’s own currency, the Renminbi. Therefore Irish financial service providers will now be able to offer this additional service to European markets.
Ireland was only the 17th jurisdiction outside of China to receive this quota and helps to increase our economic links with China
Bank of China
In June I was delighted to see the Bank of China opening a branch in Dublin yet another sign of our increasing economic relationship. The opening of the Bank of China is exactly the kind of high quality international financial services investment that IFS2020 aims to attract. I believe that Ireland is the perfect location for any Chinese firm looking to establish operations in the European Union and attracting investment from China is a crucial part of the IDA’s global strategy.
Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank
In addition there was a second significant development this year in respect of our financial relationship to China. In March when the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank approved Ireland’s application for membership of the bank.
The AIIB as many of you will be aware is a new multilateral financial institution which came into operation in January 2016. Its objectives are to foster economic development and regional integration in Asia, primarily through investment in infrastructure.
Action Plan 2018
The IFS2020 is renewed and reviewed annually through the publication of annual action plans. Officials from my department have begun to engage with both public and private sector stakeholders on the development of Action Plan 2018.
A key part of IFS2020 is the promotion of the IFS Ireland banner brand, this brand was launched in 2016 in China, Singapore and Japan and I hope to see an increase in the promotion and marketing of Ireland for financial services under the IFS Ireland brand in the coming year.
European Financial Forum
Before I conclude I’d like to highlight the European Financial Forum. The second European Financial Forum took place in January of this year and built upon the success of the inaugural forum in 2016.
The forum was attended by approximately 650 delegates representing around 350 organisations and companies from around the world. In 2017 keynote speakers included Jin Liqun (President of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank), Phillip Hildebrand (Vice-Chairman of Blackrock) and Noreen Doyle (Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse), to name just a few.
I am very pleased to say the EFF will return to Dublin Castle on 31 January 2018 and I am looking forward to seeing the 2018 forum improving further on 2017.
I would like to once more thank Ireland China Business Association for the opportunity to address you this morning.
I hope I have given you an idea of the importance the Government places on developing our relationship with China, and the key role I see this relationship playing in Ireland’s International Financial Services sector.
Address from: http://www.finance.gov.ie/updates/minister-of-state-darcys-address-to-china-ireland-business-association/