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Business as usual is not an option: Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Discussion paper presented by Niall O’Reilly at 6th International ‘Life & Development Forum’ – “We Make Life Better – Hangzhou, White Horse Lake Jianguo Hotel , November 8-9, 2013.

                                                                                                       *****
 

Well-being

Well-being

Sustainable development is a continuous, guided process of economic, environmental and social change aimed at promoting the well-being of citizens now and in the future. To realise this requires creating a sustainable and resource efficient economy founded on a fair and just society, which respects the ecological limits and carrying capacity of the natural environment (Source: Wikipedia)

In 2013, the economic situation in Ireland is dramatically different to the earlier part of the last decade, when Ireland was known as The Celtic Tiger. Measured against the standard indicators of GDP, and GNP – trends for economic development, new housing output, tax revenues, and employment levels have dropped sharply.

We have also seen rising unemployment, a banking crisis and a collapse in the property market after a sustained, if unsustainable, boom in the property market.  A number of factors drove these unsustainable trends, including: rapid growth in employment, large scale inward migration (annual immigration rose sharply from 52,600 persons in 2000 to peak at 109,500 in 2007) (2), rapid natural population growth (17% increase between 1996 and 2006), fiscal incentives for the construction sector, rising car ownership and weakness in the strategic approach to spatial planning.

At a time of rapidly rising prosperity and development, the existing structures and controls were not strong enough to withstand the pressures that unavoidably arose.

This legacy leaves Ireland facing huge challenges in the period ahead, challenges that are all the more serious when set against the backdrop of a global economic downturn.

The sustainability pressures on the economy continue to be high and while some progress has been made, there is still a distance to travel before Ireland can fully remove itself from what is the most serious fiscal and economic crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland.

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In meeting the challenge, the Irish Government is implementing a radical Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland – a national recovery agenda, which seeks to integrate sustainable development principles into policy making across all sectors, for the purpose of stimulating:

  • the transformation of public services
  • economic growth based on knowledge and innovation
  • an inclusive, high employment society
  • a greener low carbon economy
  • and a good quality natural and built-environment so that Ireland can once again prosper on a competitive global stage.

Lessons must be learnt from Ireland’s recent experience and Ireland will have to ensure structures and systems are put in place that are strong enough to survive periods of pressure which might threaten to weaken sustainable growth and fiscal stability.

It is widely accepted that economic growth, social unity and environmental protection are equally important targets for meeting the prime objective of delivering well-being in a diverse multi-cultured society that promotes participation, a society in which everyone takes responsibility for the environment.

While the establishment of a more sustainable pattern of development for Ireland is one of the key challenges of government and ultimately for society, there is also a clear consensus that a return to ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

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At a global level there is a growing consensus that the world’s systems of production and consumption cannot be sustained without posing a huge threat to the environment and to human health. Water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, resource depletion and irreversible biodiversity loss are problems that have to be tackled as a matter of priority.

Consensus is now focusing around the need to put economies on a more sustainable, green growth path on the basis that the cost of sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services is lower than the cost of allowing biodiversity and ecosystem services to decline.

For Ireland ‘green growth’ and the ‘green economy’ are now fundamental aspects of Government policy as the country shifts away from the ‘brown economy’ on the road to becoming a low-carbon, competitive, resource efficient and climate resilient country, policy which will ultimately improve its citizens’ well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Economic, environmental and social progress are mutually related.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Blue sky living

Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development

This Framework contains measures to help meet the overall goal of achieving continuous improvement of quality of life both for current and for future generations.

The following set of 7 principles for sustainable development are the central aspects of this Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland:

  1. In relation to “economy”, the principle seeks “to promote an innovative, competitive and low carbon economy with the aim of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and to reduce pressure on natural resources
  2. In relation to “satisfaction of human needs by the efficient use of resourcesthe key objectives are that:

(a) “Prices should reflect the real costs to society of production and consumption activities and polluters should pay for the damage they cause to human health and the environment

(b) “The needs of current generations should be addressed without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”

(c) “Resources should be used within the capacity for regeneration

3. In relation to “respect for ecological integrity and biodiversity” the Framework seeks to ensure that “the abundance of wildlife and extent of habitats should be maintained, improved and restored where necessary, through sustainable management

4. In relation to social equity the main principle is that “social inclusion should be promoted to ensure an improved quality of life for all”

5. In relation to “respect for cultural heritage and diversity” the Framework will ensure that “the quality of landscapes, the heritage of the man-made environment and historic and cultural resources should be maintained and improved.

6. In relation to “Equity between countries and regions” Ireland will:

(a) “promote fundamental rights, by combating all forms of discrimination and contributing to the reduction of poverty”

(b) “promote consistency between local, regional, national, European Union (EU) and global actions in order to increase their contribution to sustainable development”

7. The 7th and final theme of Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development relates to good “decision-making”. In this regard, the framework will aim to:

(a) Guarantee citizens’ rights of access to information and public participation procedures.

(b) Ensure citizens’ access to review mechanisms.

(c) Develop adequate consultation with all interested parties, including citizens, businesses and social partners (such as trade unions), and develop participatory channels for all such interested parties.

Of course there are challenges.

Ireland’s Sustainable Development Framework catagorises 12 the key challenges under the following themes:

  1. Sustainability of public finances and economic resilience.
  2. Sustainable consumption and production.
  3. Conservation and management of natural resources.
  4. Climate change and clean energy.
  5. Sustainable agriculture.
  6. Sustainable transport.
  7. Social inclusion, sustainable communities and spatial planning.
  8. Public health.
  9. Education, communication and behaviour change.
  10. Innovation, research and development
  11. Skills and training
  12. The 12th challenge is how to address global poverty and sustainable development.

I will now briefly explain Government-led initiatives regarding two of these themes: sustainable transport and public health

Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future

Transport, which is a key element of a sustainable development strategy, should be closely aligned to land use planning and the need to create more sustainable communities.

Sustainable transport is central to Ireland’s efforts to combat climate change, air pollution and other negative environmental and social impacts.

Transport trends in Ireland from the mid 1990’s onwards are unsustainable. The main problems associated with transport in Ireland are:

  • Rising pollution – greenhouse gases and particular air pollutants which are detrimental to health and the environment such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Increasing congestion on roads that lengthens journey times, adversely impacts on family, leisure time, and community life, contributes to the growing problem of obesity, and adds to pollution and costs at many levels including affecting Ireland’s national competitiveness. In Ireland there is a clear appetite to abandon the car for commuter driver, if only this were practical.
  • Safety also remains a key issue despite the steadily decreasing numbers of road deaths.
  • In addition, a key characteristic that distinguishes energy use in transport in Ireland is the almost total dependence on oil as a fuel and on import dependency, over 99% in both cases.

Without intervention, congestion will get worse, economic competitiveness will suffer, quality of life will deteriorate and carbon emissions from the transport sector will grow.

In order to achieve a sustainable travel and transport system by 2020, Ireland needs to change its unsustainable behaviour and habits as a nation and as individuals.

Sustainable and smarter transport measures currently being implemented by the Government under the Framework for Sustainable Development are set out in four key goals:

Goal 1 – to “reduce overall travel demand and the distance traveled by private car” and encourage smarter travel, including

  • focusing population and employment growth in sustainable compact forms, which reduce the need to travel for employment and services
  • using pricing mechanisms or fiscal measures to encourage behaviour change and discourage people from using the car unnecessarily.

Goal 2 – to “maximise the efficiency of the transport network” by ensuring that alternatives to the car are more widely available mainly through a radically improved public transport service and investment in cycling and walking.

Goal 3 – to reduce reliance on foss1il fuels and emissions by improving the fuel efficiency of motorised transport through

  • improved fleet structure
  • energy efficient driving
  • alternative driving.

Goal 4 – to improve accessibility to transport.

To achieve these goals the Government is pursuing a number of key targets such as:

  • Dramatically improving the placement of spatial and transport planning to stop urban sprawl, and urban-generated one-off housing in non-urban areas
  • Encouraging e-working through better broadband provision
  • 500,000 more people will take alternative means to commute to work (200,000 people will switch to cycling and walking) to the extent that the total share of car commuting will drop from 65% to 45%
  • Alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport will be supported and provided to the extent that these will rise to 55% of total commuter journeys to work
  • The total kilometres travelled by the car fleet in 2020 will not increase significantly from current levels
  • A reduction will be achieved on the 2005 figure for greenhouse gas emissions from the transport

These key targets are ambitious. However, they are necessary to improve the quality of life of Ireland’s citizens, to secure future energy supply, and to ensure that the transport sector substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the need for all developed nations to do so. These targets represent a complete turnaround in the current trends. They mean that the Irish public must radically alter how they travel, and that Government priorities in the transport sector must move towards more sustainable modes.

Smarter Travel and Sustainable Transport Ideas:

  • Specification of a maximum permitted level of car parking for Government offices and commercial sites, which have suitable public transport facilities and are within walking/ cycling distance to amenities
  • The adoption of flexible working policies. The Government has provided leadership in promoting such flexible policies in the public sector
  • Ensuring that every school and college in Ireland has a school travel plan to encourage students to take alternatives to the car.
  • Government commitment to a culture of walking in Ireland
  • A car-sharing website which will help employers to encourage such initiatives in the workforce.
  • One smart-card to pay for all forms of public transport
  • Conversion of taxi and public bus fleet to alternative fuels. 
Natural resources

Natural resources

A Healthy Ireland

Public health protection is an essential goal for society in delivering well-being and quality of life. Ireland has made significant progress in regard to the health of its population, but some key challenges remain.

The rise in life expectancy in Ireland during the past decade has been unmatched by any other country in Europe with the greatest gains in the older age groups reflecting decreasing mortality rates from major diseases.

In fact, the most important statistic from a health perspective is the number of people over the age of 65 which is projected to increase from over 500,000 now to over 1,300,000 in the next 30 years with the greatest proportional increases occurring in the 85+ age group.

However, Ireland’s ageing population, together with negative trends in obesity (60% of adults are obese), diet, exercise and other risk factors – such as smoking [6,000 deaths a year), and alcohol abuse (related road accidents cost over Euro 600 million a year) means that the level of chronic health conditions will certainly increase.

In addition, there are a range of social determinants of health, for example social exclusion, education, health services, the built environment and lifestyle choices:

People who are less well off or who belong to socially excluded groups tend to fare badly in relation to these social determinants

A healthy environment is also absolutely linked to the health of Ireland’s population which relies for survival on clean air and water and the crops we are able to grow in uncontaminated soil. Public amenities such as forest parks provide opportunities for recreation and add to our understanding of the environment thus supporting healthier lifestyles while contributing to our well-being.

The Irish Government’s Healthy Ireland framework is about taking important steps towards making Ireland a healthier and more prosperous country in which the whole population enjoys the best possible health and well-being.

It is designed to include Government Departments, local authorities and public bodies, businesses and employers, sports and voluntary groups, communities and families.

Initiatives within the Healthy Ireland Framework have four goals:

Goal 1: Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life:

This means addressing risk factors and promoting protective factors at every stage of life – from pre-natal, through early childhood, adolescence, adulthood and into old age, to support lifelong health and well-being.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the number of adults (by 5%) and children (6%) with a healthy weight by 2019
  • Increasing by 20% the proportion of adults eating the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Reducing smoking among young people by 1% a year
  • Decreasing levels of self-harm across all life stages
  • Increasing by 20% of proportion of the population undertaking regular physical activity

Goal 2: Reduce health inequalities:

Health and well-being are not evenly distributed across Irish society. This goal requires not only interventions to target particular health risks, but also a broad focus on addressing the wider social determinants of health – the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age – to create economic, social, cultural and physical environments that foster healthy living.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the ‘stay at school’ rates of students in second-level schools
  • Reducing the % of the population in consistent poverty from current 6% to 2% or less by 2020.
  • Increasing self-reported happiness and well-being across socio-economic groups.

Goal 3: Protect the public from threats to health and well-being:

The Healthy Ireland Framework is designed to ensure effective strategies and interventions to protect the public from new and emerging threats to health and well-being are implemented. Being prepared to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from public health threats through collaborative working is critical for protecting and securing the population’s health.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing immunization rates for children to 95% uptake
  • Reducing prevalence of food-borne infections in compliance with Ireland and EU legislation
  • Complying with indicators defined in International Health Regulations, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Goal 4: Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their  part in achieving a Healthy Ireland:

It is beyond the capability of any one Government Department or organisation to promote society-wide health and well-being. This can only be done through society-wide involvement in and engagement with health and well-being promotion and improvement activities – from individuals making positive lifestyle choices and projects run by community and local groups, to policy and legislative changes at the highest level of government.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Establishing key indicators measuring the level, range and effectiveness of cross government collaboration and effectiveness of structures.
  • Increasing percentage of people participating in informal, unpaid charitable work.

The current health status of people living in Ireland, lifestyle trends and inequalities in health outcomes are leading Ireland toward a future that is dangerously unhealthy and very likely unaffordable. The work that is underway to build a health service that is accessible and fair will only succeed if Ireland builds an environment that supports people and their families to lead healthier lifestyles.

Evidence and experience from around the world clearly shows that to create positive and sustainable change in health and well-being, it takes the involvement of the whole community, the whole of Government, all of society working in unison.

In conclusion, having endured the worst crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland, by placing Sustainable Development as a critical component in Ireland’s Agenda for National Recovery the Government is clearly focused on pursuing coherent policies and sustainable actions for the health and well-being of the country’s most valuable asset: Its people.

Given Ireland’s present economic condition investment in the necessary infrastructure elements of the Framework for Sustainable Development will be challenging. However, the real challenge is to change mindsets, so that Ireland’s institutions and individual citizens realise the benefits from altering their behaviour for the common good.

END.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Bio-diversity

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

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Blind monks and business networking in China

Ningbo Business Club Logo
Speech by Niall O’Reilly
Founder Ningbo Business Club
2nd B2B Networking Reception
33rd Floor, Mingzhou Suite, Shangri La Hotel, Ningbo.
7th November, 2013

 

Good evening Ningbo Business Club members and distinguished guests.

I am delighted to see so many of you here tonight attending the second Business To Business networking reception of the Ningbo Business Club, which is brought to you in this magnificent Shangri La Hotel setting by Ningbo Focus – our media partner – Point Corporate Services, and Reindeer Station.

By way of introduction, in August 1988 courtesy of a Chinese Government Scholarship I came to Beijing to study the Chinese language and foreign trade. I assured all my family and friends “just one-year and I will be return back to Ireland. Well, that was 25 years ago and, as you can see, I am still here!

Once the dynamism and buzz of day by day living and working China breeds permeates your skin… well, it stays there, and with respect to Ningbo, for very obvious reasons:

  • We are in a city which in 2012 registered GDP of RMB 652.47 billion, at an annual growth rate of 7.8%
  • where the GDP per capita, by resident population count, is over US$13,500 and heading towards the US$20,000 mark by the end of 2016
  • A city that in 2012 recorded an import / export trade value of US$96.6 billion.

Ningbo is now firmly on the map as a leading business city in China in its own right and nowhere is dynamic change more evident than in Ningbo’s infrastructure construction boom:

  • The CRH high-speed train I took this afternoon from Hangzhou East Station to Ningbo East Station involved a journey of only one hour. Two years ago I recall a rail journey of over two hours. The completely new 150 kilometres high-speed railway line between the two cities took less than two years to construct.
  • The 35.7 kilometres long Hangzhou Bay Bridge, which took only four years to build, now makes driving to Shanghai is now a breeze

Looking out the window of this 33rd floor presidental suite at the spectacular views it is clear Ningbo’s infrastructure investment explosion over the past 5 years is simply beyond staggering.

Yet, given that we are living and doing business in the city that hosts the World’s second (soon to be) largest trading port… Where else would you want to be?

Networking

Perhaps you have heard, or not heard, about the story of the six blind monks who are asked to determine what an elephant looks like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body.

  • The first blind monk touches a leg and says the elephant is a pillar.
  • The second blind monk touches the tail and says the elephant is a rope.
  • The third monk touches the trunk and believes it is a tree branch.

and so on until the

  • The sixth blind monk who feels the tusk and says the elephant is a spear.

Each blind monk could feel a part of the elephant, and are certain they had the whole of the elephant.

However, in reality they only had a part of it. None could grasp the reality of the big picture: Many of us look at China in the same way.

The media, both here in China and outside, can distort our awareness and perceptions about China by sensationalising the good and the bad, while from time to time its seems that everyone has a different opinion about what is going on..

So how do we make sense of all the information we are being exposed to?

Each time we return home to our countries, or when we read newspapers from back home, it seems that the path to business success here in China can be neatly packaged into three themes:

  • Learn Chinese
  • Build guanxi
  • Understand the culture

However as we all know these clichés can inevitably turn out to be the most difficult, misunderstood and costliest approaches to success and profitability in China.

For example, the fact Chinese businesspeople from Hong Kong (speaking Cantonese), Taiwan (Mandarin/Hakka), Singapore (Mandarin/Fukienese) and Malaysia (Fukienese) struggle for success in China indicate more than language skills are needed.

Being based on the ground here in Ningbo you will know that the word guanxi is a widely misunderstand concept, not to be confused with back door games and buying favours. It takes a very long time to build true guanxi, which, as we know, can be stronger than any contract.

We also know that when it comes to learning the culture, what’s really important is getting a handle on the specific nuances, for example at business meetings  when sometimes what is not being said can indicate the true meaning, while our Chinese counterparts can hear the same words but interpret things completely differently.

欲知前方事,且问过来人

Yù zhī qiánfāng shì, qiě wèn guòláirén

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”

(Chinese Proverb)

And in my opinion there is really no better way to make the right connections and access the right information here in China than through Networking Networking Networking.

The Ningbo Business Club

With such conviction, and seeing the considerable potential in China for the social networking website for business professionals that is LinkedIn, 5 years ago I set up a series of China city business networks including Ningbo Business Club (NBC), which now has close to 450 members.

Our Ningbo Business Club (市商业协会) is devoted to bringing professionals and entrepreneurs here in Ningbo and surrounding areas quality (as opposed to quantity) connections, information and knowledge about how to use and leverage business networking to meet their professional objectives.

The fact that our origins are online enables us to not only reach out to members doing business on the ground here in Ningbo.

Ningbo Business Club (宁波市商业协会) also provides an excellent business resource platform for business people around the world to find out about all that is relevant to doing business here in Ningbo and Zhejiang, and ultimately to secure business deals along the way  – which is why we are all here tonight!

In addition, akin to us foreign businesspeople here, many ‘Ningbo-born, bred, and raised businessmen and businesswomen’, or Ningbo’s Diaspora, are dispersed far and wide, living and working all over the globe. Ningbo Business Club provides an excellent platform for them to connect with their laojia 老家and keep abreast of what’s going on in Ningbo’s business scene.

I am the Managing Director of Accurate Group, a China market-making consultancy, operated out of Hangzhou and Ireland. Our clients outside china constantly ask us searching questions about all aspects of city and provincial market information the real-time answers to which lie within a network connection. I can also tell you that over half of Accurate Group’s client base came via connections made on Linkedin.com

Of course being on the ground here in Ningbo we all want an opportunity to meet our fellow members socially to learn “what was” and “what is” happening in Ningbo’s business scene.

Hence, this our second B2B event tonight, where moving forward, and given calibre of our two guest speakers tonight – Candy Tang, from Deloitte Shanghai (who will talk about China’s VAT Reform Pilot) and Tormod Ludvik Nilsen, from Wikborg Rein Shanghai (who will talk about the new duty-free zone in Shanghai), we anticipate that Ningbo Business Club will continue to prosper as the leading source of business interaction for businesspeople with an interest in Ningbo.

Now I would like to hand you over to our Chairman Helge Hareland, Chairman & Business Development Director at Point Services (Ningbo) Co Ltd. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your evening.

END

Source: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=dR+qtUHbPg4=

Join the Ningbo Business Club (NBC) (宁波市商业协会) at http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Ningbo-Business-Club-NBC-975447/about

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NingboBusinessClub

Twitter: @ningbobusiness

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Group China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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Accurate China Insight: Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to pay official visit to Ireland

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai will pay official visit to Ireland early in the week of 27th October 2013

A “princeling” (his father was a Minister of Finance and Trade), Shanghai born Ma Kai is a Wen Jiabao protege, and 4th ranked of the 4 vice ministers, will arrive in Dublin next week for talks with Eamon Gilmore “Irelands deputy prime minister (Source / read more: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/special/18cpcnc/2012-11/15/c_131977291.htm)

According to Bloomberg (Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-16/who-s-who-in-china-s-new-government-leadership-lineup.html) Vice Premier Ma is “..one of the top officials in charge of running the world’s second-biggest economy”..

What agreement will Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore ( An Tanaiste) be signing when Chinese Vice Premier Ma kai comes to town?

What agreement will Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore ( An Tanaiste) be signing when Chinese Vice Premier Ma kai comes to town?

Recently he has been very much at the forefront of EU-China dialogue:

  • Prior to his visit to Ireland Vice Premier Ma is leading the Chinese delegation at the fourth High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue taking place today in Brussels to discuss trade and investment frictions.
  • Last week he also co-hosted with Chancellor George Osborne the recent 5th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue at which London’s role as a global offshore hub for RMB trading and consequently a hub for RMB investment into China were strengthened.

On his visit to Ireland Vice Premier Ma will possibly be accompanied by Trade Minister Gao Hucheng and it will be interesting to see whether the potential for cooperation with our own financial sector, as in IFSC, is raised in deliberations with their Irish counterparts. Or perhaps in the face of moves towards EU tax harmonisation and recent coups regarding London’s role as a global offshore hub for RMB trading the Chinese no longer view the IFSC offering as being attractive, if they ever did.

Is Ireland's IFSC an attractive investment proposition for China's financial institutions?

Is Ireland’s IFSC an attractive investment proposition for China’s financial institutions?

Source: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=HRIh4I2qAKE=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Group China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’Reilly, Accurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market

Niall O’Reilly, who organised the Hangzhou leg of the Irish Exporters’ Association trip to China which we reported on last month, says an offer by Wahaha chief Zong Qinghou to attend the company’s annual internal distributor exhibition marks a “very rare China market opportunity not to be missed”.

China’s richest man, with almost €9 billion in personal assets, Zong is trying to diversify his company, the country’s biggest domestic beverage group, by opening 18 self-run shopping malls, 35 franchising malls and a further 300 franchising stores by the end of 2015.

Wahaha has a nationwide distribution network of about 10,000 distributors, over 100,000 wholesaler and three million sales terminals. It employs more than 60,000 people, has 150 subsidiary companies and 60 manufacturing bases scattered throughout China.

At the meeting with the Irish Exporters Association, Zong, invited Irish producers of milk powder, UHT milk, goat milk powder, tea, fruit drink concentrates, sweets, Irish whiskies and spirits, and, curiously, Irish tweed and knitwear products to attend the Wahaha European Premium Commodities Exhibition in Hangzhou from July 25th to July 28th.

While noting the short time to the exhibition, Zong thought the exhibition would be a great opportunity to showcase Irish products to Wahaha’s key distributors.

Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market - Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha and Niall O'Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers

China’s wealthiest man, Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha – China’s most admired company – welcomes Niall O’Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers to Wahaha’s HQ in Hangzhou

“This is a man whose primary interest in working with foreign companies is to bring into China products which Chinese companies are poor at making. If he likes a product, his nod is as good as a wink to Wahaha’s distribution network,” said O’Reilly, head of the Accurate Group.

China is set to become Ireland’s fourth largest export market in the next decade, and the retail sector offers huge market potential for Irish foodbeverage and clothing companies. Over 300 million people in China now have disposable income to purchase on non-essential goods that was not possible even back in the 1990s, while Chinese government policies aim to double household incomes by 2020.

Sources / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/exports-showcase-offers-rare-opportunity-in-growing-market-1.1456741

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Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yuhang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’ReillyAccurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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Irish Exporters Association trade mission to ‘paradise’ meets China’s richest man

Irish Times, Asia Briefing, 2nd July, 2013

“And so to the prosperous east of China, to the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, where the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) organised a trade mission that included a meeting with mainland China’s richest man: Zong Qinghou.

There is a Chinese proverb: “In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou.”

As well as being pleasant cities, they are important business locations, and they fit right in with the current thinking on how to exploit the China market best. That involves focusing on second-tier cities that have large populations.

Hangzhou has 9.5 million inhabitants, while Suzhou has 12 million, which is why the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum chose them for its business visit.

“This is all about taking a phased approach to Asia, and getting to know Asia better,” said Hugh Kelly, the chairman of the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum.

“We wanted to get people out here and get them over the hump of making the trip. We wanted to try to get people to experience China and better inform them if it’s the market for them.”

The IEA’s director for China, Niall O’Reilly, is a long-time Hangzhou resident and he orchestrated the coup of arranging a meeting with Mr Zong.

He is estimated to have a personal wealth of 82 billion yuan (€10.23 billion) and is the chairman of the privately held Wahaha group, China’s top homegrown beverage firm, producing bottled water, tea and other drinks, which had pre-tax profits of €1.23 billion last year.

A chain-smoking member of China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, Mr Zong is famously frugal, spending just $20 (€15) a day on himself. He is the third-richest man in Asia and 23rd richest in the world.

His knowledge of Ireland was extremely limited, something the delegates were keen to remedy, but he seemed receptive to the possibilities offered by Ireland – the visit was supposed to be 20 minutes’ long but went on for one and a half hours.

Wahaha has about 60 factories in 29 provinces, and it also makes baby formula and children’s clothes.

The Wahaha group has considerable geographical spread in China and Mr Zong said that he can get a new product into two million shops inside of a week.

“Mr Zong was very interested in what Ireland had to offer,” said Mr Kelly.

Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha

Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha

During the visit, Mr Zong invited the IEA to attend a Wahaha event in three weeks’ time, which will be an opportunity to pitch products to the 20 shopping malls owned by Wahaha.

Among the companies taking part on the delegation was Áine Handmade Chocolates. Owner and chocolatier Anne Rudden was impressed by the scale of operations at Wahaha.

“I was here on this trip to see if there were opportunities, so I got more than I thought out of it. Meeting with Mr Zong was the best. And choosing Hangzhou seems to have been a good idea,” said Ms Rudden.

Mr Zong also tried Darling Cocktails’ ready-to-serve cocktail.

Mr Kelly said that while companies were happy to go to the US six times a year, companies found the trip to Asia more daunting and had less of a presence as a result.“Everyone is going home with a great impression. There are a lot of layers here and we’ve achieved more than we expected on this trip. You have to come here to see the scale on which they plan,” said Mr Kelly, the chief executive of Associated Marketing.

Unlike other Government trade missions, the IEA trade delegation had the benefit of not having to meet political obligations.

Mr Kelly said the choice of Hangzhou and Suzhou as the main venues for the trip was part of a plan to match Irish companies with their counterparts in smaller cities.

“Many Irish companies are small and medium-sized companies and are very small in China. If you pair off with someone too big you will fade,” said Mr Kelly.

The delegation also visited the Hangzhou Economic Development Authority and was received by the local government.

Source / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/world/asia-briefing-irish-trade-mission-to-paradise-meets-richest-man-1.1449280 . Accurate Group China Business Blog  http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=VDJvvLcn5vQ=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’ReillyAccurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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Irish Exporters Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou and Hangzhou, China, June 23rd to June 28th

Overview

The Asia Trade Forum, an initiative of the Irish Exporters Association established to increase two-way trade with Asia, is delighted to announce a Business Visit in June 2013 to two of China’s most fabled and leading business cities, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

The visit will encompass the two cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, both on the Yangtze River Delta and 30 minutes from Shanghai. Typically, Business Visits tend to focus on Tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Both Suzhou and Hangzhou are highly competitive cities, with rapid economic development. In addition, they both offer a consumer market with above average disposable incomes. They are ideal gateways to China for your business.

The visit will take place from 23rd to 29th June in partnership Grant Thornton, William Fry, RBS/Ulster Bank, Enterprise Ireland, Euler Hermes, FcM Travel, and Etihad Airways.

The purpose of the Business Visit is to:

  1. Showcase exporting or partnering opportunities in Yangtze River Delta economic region.
  2. Showcase Chinese companies who wish to trade with Ireland.
  3. Highlight the growing indigenous Irish companies operating in China.
  4. Provide a platform for Irish and Chinese businesses to exchange trading opportunities.
  5. The event will include seminars, roundtable workshops, and 1:1 meetings with perspective customers and partners.

Dates / Schedule:

Sunday 23rd June

A.M.:  – Depart Ireland Etihad Airways

Monday 24th June

A.M.: – Arrive in Shanghai Pudong International Airport / transfer to City of Suzhou by road
P.M.: – Arrive City of Suzhou

[Distance from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Suzhou is about 120km (similar to driving from Dublin to Enniscorthy)

Tuesday 25th June

All-Day: – Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Wednesday 26th June

A.M. –Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. Depart City of Suzhou / Transfer overland to City of Hangzhou

[Distance from Suzhou to Hangzhou is about 166km (similar to driving from Dublin to Belfast)]

Thursday 27th June

All-Day:- Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Friday 28th June

A.M. – Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. – Wrap up / Tour of West Lake

Evening – Head to Shanghai Pudong International Airport / Return to Ireland
[Distance from Hangzhou to Shanghai Pudong International Airport is about 200km (similar to driving from Dublin to Tipperary)]

Accurate China Insight - Irish Exporters Association - Asia Trade Forum Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou Hangzhou and Shanghai China June 2013

Business Visit Participation Fees and Details

The participation fee to take part on the mission is €500 plus 21.5% VAT per company.  The following will be included as part of the participation fee:

  • Seminars, business networking events and quality 1:1 match-making meetings (utilising the combined resources of local government and on the ground Irish Exporters Association expertise).
  • Group lunches and evening receptions in both cities.
  • Company profile and business visit brochure.
  • Organisational and logistical support including transfers and transport in China.
  • Negotiated group rates in hotels.

Travel Agency Support

Registration for the business visit opens on Tuesday 14th May, please visit http://www.asiatradeforum.org to register.

Final deadline for registration is Friday 7th June.

Travel Information & Visa

Information on travelling in China and vaccine requirements in available from the Department of Foreign Affairs on http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=402

business visa must be obtained through the Chinese Embassy visa service.

You will be required to include the following:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months with 2 blank pages facing each other
  • 1 passport photo
  • Company Letter- stating 12 mth multiple visa
  • Invitation letter (to be arranged by ATF)
  • Application form and additional business form (attached).

Processing time is 10 working days. There is a same day service available for Irish passport holders for an additional €125. The IEA Consular Service can assist with visa applications.

What makes the Asia Trade Forum Business Visit to China Different?

  • Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum, having hosted many high-level delegations from these two cities over the years, have excellent relationships with local governments in Suzhou and Hangzhou
  • China isn’t a single market: 5 megacities with populations of over 10,000,000; 14 cities with populations of over 5,000,000 (including Suzhou and Hangzhou), and 41 cities with populations of over 2,000,000. The Yangtze River Delta economic powerhouse is a market place of 88,000,000 people
  •  The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum is in a unique position to work with practical and enthusiastic local governments, Irish business associations and Irish businessmen and businesswomen working on the ground in China to deliver a constructive Business Visit focused on quality match-making and business lead generation
  • The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum are very conscious of the cost constraints holding many Irish companies back from engaging with China. This will be a very focused Business Visit aimed primarily at developing inroads into China’s Tier 2 city markets where strong local government relationships are critical.

Introducing Suzhou and Hangzhou

Chinese Proverb:

“In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou”

About Suzhou

A city built in 514 B.C.; Suzhou has long been one of China’s richest cities. Immediately west of Shanghai is strategically situated in the Yangtze River Delta region, China’s economic epicentre. Suzhou is also located in Jiangsu Province, which has the highest GDP per capita of all Chinese provinces, and the second highest GDP.

Suzhou Development

Municipality population:   10,500,000

Urban population:   4,074,000

Average temperature in June:    23 degrees

Average annual income:    Approx €13,000

According to Forbes ™ China, in 2011 Suzhou was China’s “best business city”, while in 2012 Suzhou was the “most innovative city” in China. Suzhou is also the 2nd largest manufacturing industry base in China, producing, for example, 40% PC sets, 65% mouses, 30% micro-cameras, 10% PC boards of world supply

Suzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

– Patent Applications     NO.1

– Government Service     NO.1

– Patents Grant     NO.2 (2011)

 Best Business Environment     NO.3

– Overall Competitiveness     NO.5 (2012)

– G.D.P     NO.5 (2012)

–  Total Exports     NO.3

–  Total Imports and Exports     NO.4

Irish companies including GlanbiaPM GroupEPS ElectronicsElement Six, etc, have already either invested in Suzhou operations, partnered with Suzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Suzhou.

About Hangzhou

Legend has it that Marco Polo called the former imperial capital of China, Hangzhou: “without doubt the finest and most splendid city the world“.

Hangzhou is known for its high level of education, advanced technology industries, considerable wealth and the fabled West Lake scenic area. Four of China’s best known brands were born, and are headquartered in Hangzhou Alibaba and Taobao (which is why Hangzhou is referred to as China’s e-commerce capital), Wahaha (mineral water), and Geely (owner of Volvo electric car research).

Hangzhou

Municipality population:     8,700,000

Urban population:     6,242,000 (10th largest in China)

Average temperature in June:     23 degrees

Average annual income:     Approx €10,000

Ranked by Forbes™ in December 2012, as the second “best city for business” in China, after Shanghai, Hangzhou has benefited almost disproportionately from the spread of wealth, development, and investment from Shanghai, which is 2 hours north. For example, Hangzhou already has 108.5 millionaires per 100,000 residents, China’s highest concentration of wealth.

The provincial capital of central Zhejiang Province, which is considered China’s technological and entrepreneurial heartland, Hangzhou is also situated on the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta region, where it ranks 2nd in terms of economic prosperity.

Hangzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

  • Patent Applications     NO. 1 (of Provincial Capitals 2011)
  • Government Service     NO.2
  • Patents Grant     NO.2 (2012)
  • Best Business Environment     NO.2
  • Overall Competitiveness     NO.8 (2012)

Kerry Group is one of a number of Irish companies who have already either invested in Hangzhou operations, partnered with Hangzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Hangzhou

Sector-related Market Opportunities for Irish companies in Suzhou and Hangzhou

  • Software, e-commerce, animation, gaming design and testing
  • Precision machinery manufacturing
  • ICT
  • Services industry
  • Cleantech / Environment protection
  • Automobiles
  • Bio-pharmaceutical / medical
  • Retail
  • Government
  • Horticulture
  • Chemicals
  • Food, etc…

Note: Do not be put off if your business sector does not appear in the list above, as it is the intention of Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum to try to assist every company interested in tapping the China market to find potential partners / clients.

Estimated Travel Costs

Once the registration fee has been received and the registration form completed, FcM travel will offer a negotiated package to delegates.  However costs may vary according to individual itineraries and exchange rate.  The costs are based on the first 20 places on the visit.

The FcM travel cost will be approx. €1800 to include:

  • Etihad Flight    (Departure from Dublin:  Sunday 23rd. Arrive in Dublin Saturday 29th)
  • Transfers and internal transport
  • Lunch and evening receptions (2 in each city)
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation

For further information contact:

Ashley Beston, Asia Trade Forum Manager,

Irish Exporters Association ashleybeston@irishexporters.ie  or 01- 642 4170

Niall O’Reilly, Director for China, Irish Exporters Association,

niall@accuratelimited.com

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

Accurate Group China Office : 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Accurate Group Ireland Office: 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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May 14, 2013 · 7:25 pm

Accurate China Insight: China business scam – Beware of unusually large Purchase Orders

A growing number of small to medium sized companies both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland have recently contacted Accurate Group to seek our assistance in verifying the existence of China-based companies (many of which are operating out of the Shenzhen area of Guangdong Province) with generic names such as Brightway, etc., that are sending unanticipated, yet conceivable (and therefore tempting), large purchase orders, with attractive upfront payment terms of up to 50%. Following minimal correspondence, the Irish company contact (usually the Managing Director) is invited to travel to China to sign a contract. However, once in China visiting buyer’s office (which appears to be legitimate, but is merely a respectable cover for a criminal activity), and the initial deposit is due, the seller is asked to pay upfront half the bank fees for the transfer, or a commission in cash. Upon return to Ireland the seller will find no initial payment has being transferred and the party they have been communicating with has disappeared as has any cash they have been paid.

Accurate China Insight - China business scam -Beware of unusually large Purchase Orders

The Irish company usually contacts Accurate after a number of email exchanges with the Chinese company, which points to a level of sophistication on the part of the Chinese entity. They have done their homework and know industry specific terminology across a range of sectors including renewables, electrical filaments, and animal feed.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY SUCH SCAMS

  • If the size of the P.O. from a company in China you’ve never heard of reads too good to be true, that’s because it is!
  • There are easier ways to win in China. If you have never dealt with a Chinese company and just want to be sure they are bo na fide then you should contact a long-term hands-on Ireland China business consultancy with offices and Chinese speaking staff on the ground in China.  As veterans of doing business in China, an Irish China business consultancy, knowing the wily tricks played by Chinese companies, can be of invaluable assistance when verifying the true credentials of a Chinese buyer, supplier or business partner

… and, assuming, the Chinese prospective (product buyer, supplier, partner) company is genuine, an Irish China business consultancy can help you to negotiate and make the sale!

  • Never travel to Company to meet a company without verifying the integrity of the product buyer, supplier, or partner company that has invited you to visit them. In any case such a company will need to supply you with a Letter of Invitation (chopped / stamped with the official Chinese company name – any company doing business in Mainland China should be properly legally established [such as a company, a rep office, a branch, etc.] for tax and invoice issuing purpose), which you need to provide to your local Chinese Embassy when applying for a China entry visa. 
  • Even if you have received a contract in English, assume there is always a contract in Chinese. Ask for a copy and have if verified to ensure that contracts are exact copies of each other.

Incidentally it’s not just small and medium companies who fall prey to sophisticated China scams. No company doing business in China is immune: Look at what happened to Caterpillar who recently had to write off most of a China deal after uncovering “deliberate, multi-year, coordinated accounting” fraud (Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/19/us-caterpillar-siwei-idUSBRE90H1C520130119)?

Do note that these kinds of difficulties are experienced by very few Irish companies doing business in China. Follow your gut instinct, use commonsense and take the same precautions as you would doing business anywhere else.

Accurate China Insight - China business scam -Beware of unusually large Purchase Orders 2

Source: http://accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=t8/dwXC9GMw=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate GroupIreland China Product & Business Development (Export, Source, Import, Partner Due Diligence) Consultants doing business in China for over 24 years

China Office : 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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New leaders of the Catholic Church and China, Pope Francis and Xi Jinping, have much in common, but little prospect of reconciliation


Change at the helm – New leaders of the Catholic Church and China, Pope Francis and Xi Jinping, have quite a bit in common

Habemus Papam (We have a Pope!) 我们有一个新主席 (We have a new President!)

Within 24 hours of each other two men assumed centre stage as leaders of the two greatest populations on our planet: In the Sistine Chapel Pope Francis – Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires – was elected the 266th pope and head of 1.2 billion Catholics (and Sovereign of the Vatican State), while inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People Chinese Communist Party (CPC) leader Xi Jinping became the seventh President of the People’s Republic of China, ruling over 1.4 billion people.

China and the Vatican have had no official relations since 1951 – for 71 years, the Vatican has maintained diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known – and yet even with the uneasy relationship between China and the Catholic Church both newly appointed leaders actually have quite a bit in common. For instance:

  • Pope Francis and President Xi JinPing will rule over populations experiencing remarkable transformation, in which ‘21st century’-minded reformists and historical followers are losing faith – growing increasingly skeptical and critical of what they view as obsolete and outmoded traditional methods of governance and doctrine. However, there are still many conservatives within the Catholic Church and China who for the most part are opposed to reform, preferring to maintain the status quo and keep things the way they are.
  • Pope Francis and President Xi JinPing will lead hugely powerful and rich institutions whose very raison d’êtres are concern for the marginalised and disadvantaged, but whose supporting structures benefit from levels of advantage undreamed of by most of those they are meant to be serving. Both therefore want to be seen as thrifty, humble and genuinely concerned with the plight of the vulnerable and tackling the causes of poverty. 

– By choosing the name synonymous with the self-denial and poverty of the revered 13th Century preacher and friar, Italy’s patron saint Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, the son of an immigrant railway worker, already known for his humility, selflessness, and championing of the poor and vulnerable, signaled his intention to place the plight of the poor and marginalized at the heart of his papacy.  

– Despite his celebrated family ties to the CPC hierarchy, being the son of veteran revolutionary Xi Zhongxun (the reforming architect of China’s Special Economic Zones), at the age of 15, during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution he was part of a work brigade sent down by the CPC to the countryside village of Liangjiahe, an insignificant cave dwelling community located in remote and desolate yellow soiled mountains of Shaanxi province in northern China, to serve and learn from the grassroots. There he made a cave his home, patiently “ate bitterness (吃了苦头like the rest of us (villagers)” Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/11/world/la-fg-china-xi-20120212 , and laboured the yellow earth for seven years. Aligned with his rise as paramount leader, Xi Jinping has gone to considerable lengths to reconnect with such formative years by cultivating an image as a man of the grassroots who prefers frugality, humility and self-reliance.  Recently, in the run-up to his inauguration as President he vehemently spoken out against extravagance while underlining the need to close China’s yawning income disparities and pull its poor people out of poverty.

Change at the helm – New leaders of the Catholic Church and China, Pope Francis and Xi Jinping, have quite a bit in common

Pope Francis I – Back to core values: Emphasis on the poor and doctrinal conservatism

  • Pope Francis and President Xi JinPing both need to address damaging scandals caused by abuses of power and discord among their membership ranks that threaten the very fabric of their organisations.  Pope Francis needs to tackle the series of detrimental moral and financial disgraces involving the Vatican administration, Cardinals and other clerics that have afflicted the Catholic Church for years. Xi Jinping’s pressing task is to tackle unchecked corruption among officials that is eroding trust and belief in the CPC. Leadership changes at the top of Catholic Church and CPC have raised the hope that at last meaningful reform and revitalization is on the way. The future cohesiveness of both organisations lies in whether Pope Francis and Xi Jinping can successfully reverse the rot.
  • Pope Francis and President Xi JinPing are both known to be unwavering traditionalists on key issues. 

– Moderate Catholics hoping the church under the guidance Pope Francis will modify its social views in accordance with their own beliefs will have to wait much longer. The new Pontiff is an explicit opponent of contraception, women priests, clerical celibacy, and gay marriage, the latter which he considers “an attempt to destroy God’s plan”. Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/first-pope-from-the-americas-francis-raises-hopes-of-change-among-faithful-1.1324325

– Those amongst the burgeoning middle classes in China who like to think that Xi Jinping’s accession to the seat of power is going to result in a wave of political reforms will be sorely disappointed. Holding a doctorate in Marxist theory and ideological education from Tsinghua University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and as a former President of the CPC Central Party School, Xi Jinping is believed to hold much more conservative views than his father Xi Zhongxun (who expressed his opposition to the nature of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 4th June 1989), a supporter of former ‘liberal’ CPC General Secretary Hu Yaobang. In speeches Xi has frequently called on rising cadres to immerse themselves in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, declaring that political morality, “Marxist rectitude” and loyalty to the CPC are more important than professional competence. Source: “PLA Gains Clout: Xi Jinping Elevated to CMC Vice-Chairman,” China Brief, October 23, 2010. He was also an avowed supporter of the ‘Chongqing Model’ for upholding “core socialist norms”. Source: People’s Daily, December 13, 2010; Sina.com, December 10, 2010. [Note: The Chongqing Model was the series of social and economic policies adopted by Bo Xilai, the Chongqing CPC Chief, which epitomised increased state control and the promotion of a neo-leftist ideology. Following Bo’s removal in March 2012 the policies were either discontinued or scaled back.]

  • Pope Francis and President Xi JinPing were appointed to power through a guarded process in which the only persons who were allowed to participate were old men who are fully dedicated to the cause they stand for.

In terms of the likelihood of the Vatican one day switching its affiliation to Beijing, the similarities between the two established leaders as described above are cosmetic at best. Despite the growing appetite for spiritual values within mainland China’s officially atheist population, there is little prospect the CPC will recognise a foreign pope, rather than the secular Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, as the leader of all Chinese Catholics.  Besides faced with momentous internal challenges both the Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping will be too focused on ensuring the survival and prosperity of their own increasingly unmanageable institutions to care.

Source: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=7Mnfy0l093k=

Additional source:  https://nialljoreilly.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/hangzhou-reflections-the-hangzhou-catholic-church-the-most-church-beautiful-in-china/  is an article about the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Catholic Church of Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception in Hangzhou.

Change at the helm – New leaders of the Catholic Church and China, Pope Francis and Xi Jinping, have quite a bit in common

President Xi Jinping – Back to core values: Emphasis on the poor and doctrinal conservatism

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Filed under Accurate China Insight, Catholic Church, China, Politics, Religion, Taiwan, writing

Accurate China Insight: Preparing for Marriage – Ireland to use EU Presidency to lay groundwork for negotiating landmark EU-China Free Trade Agreement?

…..Or at least that’s what reading between the lines would appear to reveal as being the over-riding objective. Today in an address to the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee Richard Bruton TD, Ireland’s Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,  stated:

“..It was evident at the last Summit that there is considerable richness and potential in our relationship with China. We would like to prepare the ground for the next summit so that the conditions would be ripe to launch negotiations for a landmark investment agreement with market access..”

[Source / read more: http://www.4-traders.com/news/Department-of-Jobs-Enterprise-and-Innovation-of-I-Opening-Remarks-by-Minister-Richard-Bruton-TD–15961031/]

The paragraph immediately preceding this statement refers to FTA [Free Trade Agreement] negotiations with Japan and India, while further down in his speech the Minister speaks of FTAs with individual ASEAN members. 

While the specific language used in relation to China talks about “…a landmark investment agreement with market access..”, given the overall context in which the speech was made, the implication is clear – an FTA between the EU (European Union), China’s largest trading partner, and China is the ultimate goal. Such an objective marks a hugely significant turning point in the development of the EU’s China engagement strategy: Marriage is on the cards.

The visit to Ireland in February 2012 by paramount leader General Secretary Xi Jinping, which was hastily followed up by Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny‘s return trip to Beijing the following month, not only demonstrates that China, the EU’s second largest trading partner, would make for an eager marriage companion, but it also signifies China backing for Ireland’s unilateral embracement of the role of EUChina marriage maker as a key feature of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Given Minister Bruton’s speech to European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, the acknowledgement by General Secretary Xi Jinping at his March 2012 reunion with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Beijing that …

“… The development of China-Ireland relations can serve as a driving force in boosting China-Europe ties..”

[Source / read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0326/breaking59.html]

…would appear to be prophetic indeed.

Going forward, Ireland’s eager and unilateral adoption of the role of ‘marriage maker’ would seem to indicate a future political relationship with Beijing deriving far more economic benefit to the country than its trading relationship.

Meanwhile, as mentioned in the Accurate China Insight dated 21 November 2013 http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=ITvZZdNpXFs= all augurs well for Chinese President-designate Xi Jinping‘s return to Ireland in June 2013.

As noted in the Accurate China Insight dated 20th November :

“…Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of The European Union provides a fantastic opportunity for Ireland to yet again punch above its weight in the eyes of China’s leaders and media……. Moreover, EU-China -related summits in Ireland will provide Europeans with their first real chance to measure the mind-set of China‘s new leadership towards its biggest trading partner…”

[Source / read more: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=+8G9kXqGg28=]

Accurate China Insight: Ireland to use EU Presidency to lay groundwork for negotiating landmark EU-China Free Trade Agreement?

From engagement to marriage: Ireland takes on the role of EU-China marriage maker

Sources: Accurate China Business Services:  http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=dOanRm3VH+U=

https://nialljoreilly.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/should-the-ireland-propose-a-free-trade-agreement-with-china/

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (Export Sourcing Import) Consultancy

Accurate China Insight (1) http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.php  

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