On February 20, 2012, local time, visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny attended China-Ireland Trade and Investment Forum in Dublin. Vice President Xi also delivered a speech at the forum.
In his speech, Xi Jinping spoke highly of the positive contributions made by the friends of the two countries, including the friends from the business communities, to promoting the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Ireland. He expressed sincere thanks and best wishes to them. He said for a long time, China and Ireland have been sticking to the principles of equal treatment, mutual trust and mutual benefit for the development of bilateral ties and set up a model for inter-state relations. In recent years, the bilateral relationship was featured by increasingly close high-level exchanges, constantly growing mutual understanding and more active people-to-people exchanges, which laid a solid political foundation and created a good social atmosphere for deepening bilateral economic and trade cooperation. "We are pleased to see that with the concerted efforts of the governments and business communities of the two countries, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation has maintained a sound momentum of development. The constantly expanding bilateral economic and trade cooperation has not only brought tangible benefits to the two countries and the people of the two countries, but also enhanced our mutual exchanges and deepened our mutual friendship," said Xi.
Xi Jinping said that China is actively implementing the Outline of the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development (2011 to 2015). The size of the domestic market, scale of import and scale of foreign investment will increase substantially, which will bring enormous opportunities to the companies throughout the world including the Irish ones. "I hope the entrepreneurs of both countries could seize the opportunity and regard deepening economic and trade cooperation as a key pillar for common economic development and a new highlight for bilateral relations." Xi put forward a five-point proposal:
First, to expand bilateral trade and vigorously promote the development of trade in services. The two sides can work together to further expand trade scale on the existing basis and give full play to the economic and industrial complementarities of the two countries. The two countries could seek a new meeting point for the cooperation in service trade, explore more targeted and complementary products and services and fully unleash the potentials of bilateral trade.
Second, to increase mutual investment and broaden areas of investment cooperation. The related government agencies of the two countries should continue to provide support for the enterprises of the two countries to increase mutual investment and help them broaden areas of investment and innovate on investment models. China will continue to encourage competent Chinese enterprises to go to invest in Ireland and also welcomes more Irish companies to invest in China and share opportunities presented by China's economic prosperity and development.
Third, to develop advanced and new technologies and expand cooperation in new industries. Ireland has a strong advantage in industrial clustering in the areas of software development, information and communication technologies and other high-tech industry and a strong ability to turn the scientific and technological achievements into actual productivity. China is vigorously promoting the adjustment of industrial structure and technological innovation. Cooperation in this regard can become a key focus of China-Ireland economic and trade cooperation. Entrepreneurs should seize the opportunity and strive to create new advantages for mutually beneficial cooperation in the process of expanding cooperation in advanced and new technologies and emerging industries.
Fourth, to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and consolidate the foundation of economic and trade relations. The two governments and relevant agencies should actively build up cooperation platforms for SMEs, open up new channels for them, create a favorable investment and business environment for them and further lift the level of cooperation between SMEs and improve their international competitiveness.
Fifth, to make good use of cooperation mechanisms and leverage the bridging roles of trade associations. The economic and trade administrations should enhance communication and cooperation and give full play to the role of China-Ireland Mixed Committee on Economy and Trade. Meanwhile, trade associations of the two countries should continue to actively do the matchmaking for the enterprises and provide them with more effective services and a more convenient environment to carry out exchanges and cooperation.
Last, Xi said that as long as the two governments and the business communities of the two countries have firm confidence in working together to tackle tough situations and forge ahead in an pioneering spirit, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation will be able to ride on the momentum and make surprising accomplishments.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny and President of China Council for Promotion of International Trade Wan Jifei also delivered welcoming remarks at the forum. Kenny said that the signing of cooperation agreements and the successful holding of the forum during Vice President Xi's visit to Ireland has underlined the willingness of both sides to promote economic and trade cooperation and strengthen bilateral relations. The Irish side has full confidence in the development of China-Ireland relations and is willing to work with China to build up a deeper and stronger bilateral relationship. This year is the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese lunar calendar, which represents aggressiveness, innovation, and endurance. Prime Minister Enda Kenny hoped that the business communities of both countries could carry forward the spirit of the Year of the Dragon and jointly create a better tomorrow for the friendly and cooperative relationship between China and Ireland.