Euro-Chinese Trading Hub for Ireland
In a recent announcement while visiting Jiangsu province, China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming noted that with nineteen percent of the global population residing in China, the country should account for up to fifteen percent of world trade. China’s current global trade volume accounts for just over ten percent of the total. Chen further pointed out that in light of widespread economic difficulties, China’s stable growth makes a positive contribution toward global economic recovery. Moreover, with trade surplus accounting for 2.8 percent of the national gross domestic product thus far this year, China’s trade is more balanced than it was in 2011.
By all indications, China is pursuing its goal of making its presence known on a worldwide scale. The recent proposal to build a trade hub in Ireland has been met with both enthusiasm and dismay. Love it or hate it, the $1.85 billion ‘Europe-China Trading Hub’ seems set to go forward as planning permission has reportedly been granted to build on 140 hectares of land in Westmeath. The new trading hub – which will have up to 3,000 spaces for Chinese manufacturers and traders to display their wares – aims to develop into the largest source of Chinese branded goods in Europe. A huge range of goods will be promoted through the new development, which will also include leisure options such as restaurants, pubs, cinemas, a theater and even a library.
Among the stated reasons for choosing Ireland as the location for the new development is the fact that it is a member of the European Union, plus has an English-speaking labor force and an appealing corporate tax rate. It is estimated that the trading hub will generate up to 9,000 ongoing jobs, either directly or indirectly, and will attract up to 1.5 million visitors from beyond Ireland’s borders. It is estimated that the construction will create up to 1,200 jobs.
The first phase of the five phase project aims to be complete and open for business by 2015, with the financial backing reportedly coming mostly from Chinese private investors. Upon completion of all five phases, the complex will include cinemas, arts center, a youth hostel, two five-star hotels, serviced apartments, a Chinese palace, conference facilities, medical center, kindergarten, primary school, bus stations, railway station, and a 90 meter tall ‘China Tower’.