On the afternoon of February 18, 2012, local time, Vice President Xi Jinping, who had just arrived in Ireland, visited Shannon Development Zone in the west of Ireland in the company of Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore.
Vice President Xi first heard the briefing made by CEO of Shannon Development Vincent Cunnane on the history of the development zone, its business philosophy, future development goals, its role in Ireland's economic development and its relations with China and then had interactive discussions on the attraction of foreign investment, preferential policies, its cooperation with China and other interesting topics.
Vice President Xi said that Shannon Development is one of the oldest and the most successful economic development zones in the world. For decades, it not only made significant contributions to the economic development of Ireland, but also provided a useful reference for the economic development in many other countries in the world. China has learned a lot of useful experience from Shannon Development to build China's special economic zones, Shanghai Pudong New Area, Tianjin Binhai New Area and other development zones. Many Chinese delegations came to visit here to learn experience and they were deeply impressed. Shannon Development has played a helpful role in broadening their horizons, exploring new ideas, and promoting economic development. Ireland and China have complementary economic advantages. The two sides should further strengthen mutual learning, deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation, and make unremitting efforts for the long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.
CEO Vincent Cunnane and other executives of Shannon Development thanked Vice President Xi for coming to visit the development zone directly from the airport after arriving in Ireland. It shows the great importance attached by the Chinese leaders to strengthening economic and trade relations with Ireland. They said that Shannon Development is willing to further strengthen cooperation with China in aviation, transportation, financial services and other areas so as to develop and prosper together with China for the benefit of the people.
On the Night, Xi Jinping attended the welcome banquet hosted by Gilmore.