The Consulate General of Ireland in Shanghai, working closely with the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, plays an important role in developing and sustaining the strong political, cultural and economic relations between Ireland and China.
Political relations between Ireland and China are excellent. Prime Minister Li Kiqiang visited Ireland in May 2015, and the current President of China, Xi Jinping, visited Ireland as Vice-President in 2012. President Michael D. Higgins visited Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou on an eight-day State Visit in December 2014, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited China in 2013.
During the Taoiseach’s visit, a Strategic Partnership for Mutually Beneficial Cooperation was signed, which commits to deeper links across the breadth of China-Ireland relations. There are further agreements in place in sectors such as agriculture; health; trade in services; science and technology; culture; financial services regulation; mutual recognition of higher education qualifications; and software.
For our size, Ireland is quite well-known in China. In particular, Riverdance is very popular, and some of our best-known writers such as Yeats, Beckett and Shaw, have been translated into Chinese. An estimated 6,000 Irish people live in China, including around 1,000 in Shanghai and 4,000 in Hong Kong.
Bilateral trade between Ireland and China is worth over €8 billion each year. Ireland’s priority sectors for trade with China include agriculture, education, financial services, culture, and tourism.