MHC Times Issue 30

01 March 2012

Welcome to the 30th edition of the MHC Times.

In the last month, we welcomed China’s Vice President Xi Jinping to Ireland. It was an appropriately timed visit at the start of the Year of the Dragon, which is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac. Ireland is the only member of the European Union that Mr. Xi visited on his recent international tour. Ireland is uniquely positioned between east and west, both in terms of location and culture, a point noted by Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore during the visit:

“We want China to look at us like a bridge or gateway, where there is potential not just for investment by Chinese companies or investors
directly, but also opportunities to build partnerships with investors in the US.”

Ireland has already formed strong connections with China, with many of our food companies, such as Kerry Group, Largo and Glanbia, seeing rapid growth in the Chinese market. The success of large indigenous food and agricultural organisations has resulted in a ‘return to the land’ with a renewed focus in Ireland on food and agriculture. When it comes to quality food and produce, the market might be global, but Ireland has the local advantage.

Our challenge is to support smaller food organisations scale their business and export to new markets. One example of support from government is the recent provision in the Finance Bill 2012 for a new income tax relief for employees sent to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies for business purposes.