Nice observation from Simon Carswell in his Bottom Line column today in the Irish Times, regarding the recent high level visit of the putative leader of the Peoples Republic of China.
…these visits really only suggest the potential that exists. China accounts for just 3 per cent of exports and most of that is dairy products, notably infant milk formula.
UCD economist Colm McCarthy pointed out that Ireland exported the same amount of merchandise to China last year as it did to Northern Ireland and noted facetiously that there were very few Government trade missions to Dungannon and Coalisland.
The problem is that China doesn’t figure as a foreign direct investor in Europe, never mind Ireland. Beijing accounts for just 1 per cent of foreign direct investment into Europe.
The US is responsible for 72 per cent of Ireland’s foreign direct investment followed by Europe with 20 per cent, so any investment from China is starting from a very low base.
So, don’t be holding yer breath… Interestingly Barry O’Leary, polymath head of IDA Ireland, notes that China was “more likely to invest in Ireland through acquisition rather than setting up new “greenfield” businesses.”
That may be ‘code’ for acquiring smart Irish businesses and, erm, their ‘Intellectual Property’…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty