Taoiseach concludes Strategic Partnership Agreement with China:

29th March, 2012

Major step-up in Ireland-China relations will lead to greater trade and investment.
Ireland has concluded an important Strategic Partnership Agreement with China as the culmination of a successful visit to China by the Taoiseach.
The Partnership Agreement sets out a framework to ensure mutually beneficial cooperation between Ireland and China in a number of important areas including:
· Greater levels of two-way trade and investment for Irish and Chinese companies and investors;
· Attracting inward investment from China to Ireland which in turn can facilitate greater access to the wider EU internal market;
· Increased cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation;
· Closer collaboration in the agriculture sector including food and agribusiness;
· Greater levels of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, including in the education and research sectors.
Both countries also reaffirmed their commitment to respecting and safeguarding human rights and agreed to share expertise in areas such as governance and rule of law. They also restated their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Key Points made by Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton, at end of trade mission to China:
· A significant amount of business has been done – contracts signed and memorandums of understanding signed as well as the huge opportunities for Irish trade, investment and increased co-operation and sharing of experience with different sectors of the Irish economy.
· China is central to our Asian trade strategy and after a week visiting some of the main cities it is clear what an opportunity, and a challenge, this presents to Ireland Inc.
· As more than 90% of trade growth in the coming years will be outside of the EU it makes complete sense to focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market and its 1.3bn population.
· Significant opportunities for Irish business exist in areas like ICT and life-sciences as well as the tourism, farming & food sectors while the education, banking and legal sectors opened up valuable new channels of training and access to this important market.
· There is also undoubted potential to increase the volume and quality of foreign investment in to Ireland from large Chinese companies, many of whom I met on my visit this week.

Enterprise Ireland Comments on China Trade Mission
· The Taoiseach and Minister Bruton witnessed significant contract signings from 14 companies totalling more than €35m at business breakfasts organised by Enterprise Ireland. These business events were attended by more than 900 Irish company representatives and their Chinese customers and partners and the contracts signed covered a wide range of sectors including: clean technologies, mobile software, international services, healthcare, consumer products, education and industrial technologies.
· In addition, a number of significant Memorandums of Understanding, which are essential building blocks in developing business in China were signed between Irish companies and their Chinese Counterparts.
· The visit also saw significant expansion plans for Irish companies into China (Morgan McKinley and the SAON Group), which will allow them grow and internationalise their business.