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News from China
Chinese market impresses Irish investment chief
3rd December 2018

 Andrew Vogelaar, the recently appointed global head of growth markets at IDA Ireland, is impressed at how fast Chinese companies are moving toward the highest level of technological development.

During his travels in China on behalf of the state-sponsored agency for inward foreign direct investment, he said he had made exciting discoveries that had increased his interest and confidence in the country. The recently concluded China International Import Expo further reinforced his belief.
During an interview with Shanghai Daily, Vogelaar shared his views about the opportunities and challenges presented to investors interested in Ireland, a nation strong in technology, and with unparalleled agriculture and natural resource sectors.
Q: Shanghai has just hosted the first China International Import Expo. What have you taken from the event?
A: Heather Humphreys, our Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, attended the China International Import Expo. She was very impressed by this big event. It showed how open China is. For Irish companies, they were also very excited about winning many contracts from this market during the CIIE.
I think the main thing about CIIE was to show how much potential China has. Irish companies traditionally exported to other European countries and to the US. However, now we have started to export more to China, including infant baby formula, medical devices, pharmaceutical products and many other kinds of products. All of them are very strong businesses for Irish companies in China.
Q: What are the opportunities you saw during your trip to China?
A: The technology industry in Ireland is quite strong. Irish technology companies hope to have more cooperation opportunities with Chinese companies, developing the technology industry together.
Since Ireland is a small country with fewer than five million people, we try to concentrate on a few areas rather than develop everything. The environment and sites are very natural in Ireland, so we are very good in the food industry, especially in the baby formula section, and ingredients sector.
In the meantime, we are an export-oriented country since we export goods and services which take over 80 percent of what we produce. Sino-Ireland’s two-way trade is estimated to have reached 15 billion euros (US$17 billion) in 2017.
So, it’s very exciting to see that China is opening up, and it is also important for Irish companies to see it. Our government tries to help these Irish companies, not only to sell products, but to establish, operate and grow in China, being partners with Chinese companies.
Q: Could you give examples?
A: Yes, I can give you examples of some projects which are going on the other way around. In the past year or two, there has been significant investment from Chinese companies into Ireland. For example, WuXi Biologics decided to invest 325 million euros in Ireland to set up a research and manufacturing operation, which is the largest greenfield investment by a Chinese life sciences company into Europe ever. It was fantastic to see that they chose Ireland.
Apart from that, Huawei has three operations in Ireland, and the travel technology company TravelSky also recently invested in Ireland. We are also the global operation center for the aircraft leasing business. Four of the top five Chinese banks are managing their global aircraft leasing operations in Ireland, like Bank of China.
So, trade between China and Ireland is growing strong. Last year was a record year, and I believe this year will be stronger. This is a “both win” situation.
Q: Talking about “both win,” what about Irish investment in China?
A: Irish companies traditionally have been the food companies. We have very strong Irish food brands, such as Kerry and Glanbia. The infant formula sector has been growing extremely strong. Depending on statistics, 13 or 14 percent of Ireland’s infant formula production is exported from Ireland to China.
Irish products in China are always seen as quality and safe products with a good reputation, not only for food, but also for some pharmaceutical products, and that’s why WuXi Biologics came to Ireland.
Also, because we have been doing those businesses for a long time, we have a rich history in areas like food, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and technology. In this case, I believe it will be natural for those advanced Irish companies which are doing export business with China to invest in China.
At the same time, along with the partnerships between Ireland and China that have been built up, we will see more China companies invest in Ireland as well. It is a two-way development.
Q: How else can Ireland facilitate investment and trade?
A: Ireland is also strong in the financial sector to support cross-border deals. In general, the international financial services sector in Ireland can be divided into five broad business areas — banking and payments, insurance and reinsurance, funds and asset management, aircraft leasing and financial technology.
The growth and development of international financial services has been one of the highlights of Ireland’s economic development over 40 years. Because of Brexit, more banks and financial companies are coming to Ireland to continue servicing EU customers. Now, the sector employs approximately 40,000 people and there are more than 400 significant institutions operating in the country. It is worth mentioning that Bank of China set up its Dublin branch as part of its European expansion strategy in June of 2017. Other organizations like Citigroup, JP Morgan, Fidelity also invested in Ireland, and keep expanding its EU business here.
Additionally, we have a very strong financial technology sector comprising both multinational and Irish indigenous companies. We are especially strong in cyber security, payments, risk modeling, data and analytics and blockchain technology. Companies such as MasterCard, PayPal, Citi, First Data, Deloitte and AON have established research hubs in Ireland.
Q: How about the transport sector in Ireland?
A: Ireland is located between North America and Europe which gives us an advantage in terms of serving both markets. We are very well connected with the US, the UK and continental Europe by air and sea. It is very convenient for people and products to move from Ireland to the rest of the world. Especially, flight connections between London and Dublin are among the busiest in the world. That is why many international companies who want to do business with the UK or in the UK choose to set up their offices in Dublin, because we have a good business environment, government support, also a very easy and fast way to get to the UK.
I use medical devices companies and pharmaceutical companies as an example. There are many big Pharma and MedTech companies in Ireland. Sometimes the drugs or products are needed to be delivered in an emergency, even within 24 hours. Since we want to do our best in pharmaceuticals and other advanced industries, we have to think about how to promote our transport system at home and abroad. Though many years’ experience and development, the Irish transport system is very developed nowadays. In Europe, we can deliver products within a day, that’s typically by air freight. We also have very good transport links abroad.
Q: Does it mean it will take a much longer time for products to reach China?
A: Not really, for example, Ireland has many large multinational companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, who manufacture a wide range of products in Ireland to serve the global market, including China. When Johnson & Johnson assessed to set up their contact lens plant in Europe, they looked at a lot of locations but finally chose Ireland. It was because they figured out that they can get their products quicker from Ireland than from the most parts of England and Europe. Additionally, we have direct flight connections with China now through Hong Kong and Beijing. It makes business between China and Ireland easier and faster. Transport costs are also lower in this case.
For the past four or five years, Ireland has been the strongest economy in Europe. The growth is between 6 and 8 percent. By Chinese standards, that’s not huge, but for major developed economies, that’s quite big.
Ireland also offers the most favorable tax system in Europe for investors, 12.5 percent corporate tax, 6.25 percent knowledge development box and 25 percent tax credit for research and development. Ireland has 79 double tax agreements with other countries, including China.
Ireland is delighted to work with China and welcome Chinese investment.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 3, 2018
China's manufacturing PMI edges down in November
30th November 2018

 BEIJING - The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 50 this month, down from 50.2 in October, official data showed Friday.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The purchasing managers' index for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 53.4 in November, down from 53.9 in October, the National Bureau of Statistics says
Source: China Daily, November 30, 2018
China's manufacturing PMI edges down in November
30th November 2018

 BEIJING - The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 50 this month, down from 50.2 in October, official data showed Friday.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The purchasing managers' index for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 53.4 in November, down from 53.9 in October, the National Bureau of Statistics says
Source: China Daily, November 30, 2018
Higher standards for key institutions
28th November 2018

 New measure aims to prevent systemic financial risks, PBOC official says 

China will impose tighter regulations on financial institutions identified as systemically important, requiring higher standards on supplementary capital and the leverage level, the central bank announced on Tuesday.
The additional regulatory requirement is to prevent systemic financial risks and enhance financial institutions' sustainability, said an official with the People's Bank of China, the central bank, in a statement on its website.
A "special resolution regime" will come into play when systemically important financial institutions fail or have financial difficulties, to ensure the failure will not affect the whole financial system. "That is the key arrangement to solve the 'too big to fail' issue," said the official.
The bailout fund, if the financial institutions fail, could be collected by themselves or through market-oriented financial channels. And the central bank will be the final source of emergency liquidity, according to the statement.
More details, including the standards for supplementary capital and the leverage level, could be released in the short term, said Wang Gang, a senior financial researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, who participated in the drafting process of a guidance document.
"The guidance has clarified a policy framework, and more regulations will be unveiled soon referring to some global standards," he said.
Some experts close to the central bank said that rules on the bankruptcy procedure of commercial banks could be a part of the special regime, to allow some banks to exist in the market without sparking systemic risks. The deposit insurance system will play a more important role in the future, they said.
Further requirements on financial institutions' liquidity and exposure will also be made for some institutions, according to the guidance.
The financial regulatory body, the Financial Stability and Development Committee, will review and update the financial name list annually. Lower-level regulatory bodies will collect financial institutions' data and assessment scores by August every year, before proposing a draft list.
Systemically important financial institutions include banks, securities and insurance companies. Some larger financial holding companies, if they are identified as "systemically important" by the committee, should also follow the guidance, the central bank said.
Systemically important financial institutions are those with large scale, complex structures and businesses, and a high connection with other financial institutions. Once they have risk exposure, their failure will influence the entire financial system. The Financial Stability Board, the global financial stability supervisor, has just completed the 2018 assessment of China's global systemically important financial institutions.
Source: China Daily, November 28, 2018

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