Seán Canney, Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief visited China as part of the St. Patrick’s Day ‘Promote Ireland’ Programme for 2017.
St. Patrick’s Day provides the opportunity for the Irish Government to reach out to other countries, and to our diaspora, in a way that is unique to us. It allows trade and diplomatic relations to be strengthened and shines a light on Ireland and all we have to offer through our world-renowned greening of iconic sites.
Minister Canney said “I was delighted to represent Ireland in China for the St. Patrick’s Day “Promote Ireland” Programme. St. Patrick’s Day provides Ireland with both an international platform to deliver our strategic messages as well as access to key political and business contacts in leading markets around the world. China is now the world’s second largest economy.”
During his visit, the Minister engaged in a full and focused programme to promote our trade, tourism and investment with China. Some of the key highlights included the Minister meeting with Vice Minister Mr. Liu Ning at the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) in Beijing. Minister Liu has responsibility for Flood Relief in China and is Minister Canney’s direct counterpart in the Chinese system. The meeting took place in the control room of China’s National Flood Control and Drought Relief System Headquarters at the MWR where Vice Minister Liu demonstrated China’s advanced and impressive flood forecasting and relief systems.
Minister Canney said, “Ireland and China have already good relations and co-operation in the area of water resources and I look forward to further enhanced cooperation on flood relief through technical expert level exchanges. We are very interested to learn from China’s vast experience and to share our own experiences of this problem in our country”.
The Minister attended the Ireland Day event at the Nanjing University of Technology. The Minister said “Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world, renowned internationally for academic quality. Education is a key area for promoting cooperation and friendship between China and Ireland. Joint research and academic and technology collaboration will be an increasingly important part of the relationship between our countries in future”.
Minister Canney also attended business events and high-level political meetings in Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing and Shanghai. In Shanghai the Minister met with the Shanghai Municipal Government in charge of flood relief for the city where he received a detailed briefing on the water management system for the City. Shanghai is twinned with Cork since 2005 and there is strong and active co-operation between the cities in business, education, culture and tourism.
The Minister met with the Party Secretary of Huzhou, Mr. Chen Weijun and he welcomed the ongoing discussions that are taking place between representatives of Huzhou and Galway on possible ways to enhance co-operation between these two cities and he wished them every success in developing those contacts.
The Minister also met with the Chinese Vice Minister for Agriculture and had discussions on promoting Irish beef which is an important market for Ireland. The Minister said “There is a growing market in China that is looking for greater choice in food which offers significant potential for our own food and agri sector.”
The “Greening” of a section of the Great Wall of China near Beijing was another key element of the Programme. The Minister said, “We were honoured once again to have Beijing’s permission to green one of the greatest icons in the world, the Great Wall of China. St. Patrick’s day is a unique opportunity for Ireland to reach out and promote our key messages and to strengthen our close economic, trade, educational and tourism ties with China. I was delighted to have been able to develop and cement our excellent ties which are binding Ireland and China ever more closely together”.