The first batch of Irish products to be exhibited at the upcoming China International Consumer Products Expo is ready for shipment from Ireland's southern port city of Cork to Hainan province, where the event will be held, sources told Xinhua on Thursday.
"Part of the exhibits have been loaded into a 40-foot container at a bonded warehouse nearby Cork Port this morning and it is ready to go soon," said Weng Jianglai, a member of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Ireland, which is authorized by the China International Consumer Products Expo, also known as the Hainan Expo, to be responsible for exhibitor recruitment in Ireland.
Weng said a total of 13 Irish or Ireland-registered companies have confirmed their attendance at the expo, with more likely to join in.
Weng said an Ireland Pavilion will be set up at the Hainan Expo to display a variety of Irish products to Chinese consumers, ranging from world-renowned Irish whiskey and infant formula milk powder to high-quality foodstuffs and tourism products.
"Our recruitment work has received strong support from the Chinese embassy in Ireland, the Irish embassy in China and Enterprise Ireland, demonstrating the great importance attached by both sides to the Hainan Expo," Weng added.
Enterprise Ireland is an Irish state-agency responsible for helping local companies market their products overseas.
To be held in Haikou, capital of Hainan province, from May 7 to May 10, the expo aims to speed up the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port and demonstrate China's firm commitment to further opening-up and sharing business opportunities with the rest of the world, according to the expo's official website.
Chinese authorities last year released a master plan for Hainan Free Trade Port, aiming to build the whole island of Hainan into a globally influential, highlevel free trade port by the middle of the century.
Under the plan, a zero-tariff system will be fully implemented in the province before 2025, according to a promotion brochure released by organizers of the expo.
"All the products to be displayed by Irish exhibitors at the Hainan Expo will be exempt from import duties, import VAT and consumption tax," said Weng, adding that this holds a special attraction for Irish exhibitors.
In addition, exhibitors said they see huge potential in the Chinese market, particularly growing demand for high-quality Irish consumer products in China, Weng said.
Ireland's Central Statistics Office said bilateral goods trade between Ireland and China has witnessed rapid growth over the last few years.
In 2020, China was Ireland's fifth-largest trading partner worldwide and its largest trade partner in Asia, both in terms of exports and imports, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Ireland exported a total of 10.56 billion euros ($12.8 billion) worth of goods to China last year, up 18.25 percent from 2019, while imports from China amounted to 6.21 billion euros, up 18.52 percent.