New Direct Air Routes Signal Strengthening Ties Between China and the Republic of Ireland
Written by David Croasdale, Newell Public Relations - June 2018
As part of a new Walsh:PR blog series called The Global Perspective, we’ll be inviting our IPREX partners from around the world to provide communications perspectives and business insights from their markets. First up is David Croasdale from Newell Public Relations, one of China’s leading independent communications firms with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. With Brexit on the horizon, David provides a perspective on the strengthening of ties between Ireland and the global economic superpower of China.
This month marks the start of the first direct flights between Dublin and Beijing and Hong Kong helping spark an increase in business activity between the two nations. Cathay Pacific commenced a four-times-per-week direct route to Dublin from the HKSAR on 2 June 2018 and Hainan Airways a similar schedule from Beijing on 12 June 2018.
Trade between the Republic of Ireland and China has more than doubled since 2013 to an estimated 15 billion euros (US$18.4 billion) in 2017. China is already Ireland’s third largest market for agricultural exports, which have ballooned five-fold to 1 billion euros last year from around 200 million euros in 2010, and the second largest for dairy and pork products.
The two countries are actively seeking to deepen cooperation on multiple fronts. Last month, a large delegation of Irish food industry representatives began a week-long trade mission to China and Hong Kong. Led by Michael Creed TD, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the high level political visit provided an opportunity to present the Irish beef sector to potential buyers and distributors, following the news in April that Ireland had become the first European Union country to gain access to China’s fast-growing beef market.
With a rapidly growing Chinese middle class there is strong demand for protein and dairy products, particularly infant formula, and Ireland is in a position to produce and provide some of the best and safest foods on the planet.
Outside of food and agriculture, Ireland is lobbying for Chinese investment into the Republic as an important platform into the European Union. With Britain leaving the EU, Ireland will become the only English-speaking country in the Eurozone block and a good alternative for inbound investment to a market of more than 500 million people.
Additionally, Ireland can be a good ally in promoting Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road programme to the EU – replacing the role currently held by the UK.
Like the UK, Ireland is also a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), set up in 2017 by China to assist development in the Asia region. The Republic can bring its expertise in green energy, climate change and technology to projects in the region. The Bank also serves to develop Ireland’s strong ties to the rest of the Asia, which is growing by leaps and bounds, providing economic opportunities for Irish exporters to this the vibrant region.
The new direct routes will also bring more Chinese people to Ireland. Last year, more than 70,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland. Tourism Ireland expects that by 2025 the number of Chinese tourists to Ireland will exceed 175,000, more than double that of 2017.
Ireland is a very “green country”. So its natural habitats are first rate. And on top of that it has a young population and a culture of crafts, entertainment and pubs, so it’s a wonderful tourism product, and one sure to encourage many Chinese people, once the word gets out.
The environment is also perfect for study and education with the government seeking to attract more overseas students. Ireland has per capita the highest numbers of Noble Prize Winners in literature. With direct flights and more interactions, the relationship is only sure to grow.
Walsh:PR and Newell Public Relations are partners in IPREX, a global platform of over 60 independent communications agencies with over 100 offices and 1,600 staff worldwide.
Photo source: Ireland China Business Association.