DUBLIN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- A two-day virtual conference on business links with China opened in Ireland's second largest city of Cork on Thursday, the first of its kind held in Ireland since the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Named Virtual China Ireland Business Summit 2020, the event has attracted nearly 50 government officials, business leaders and experts from Ireland, China and other European countries, who will address a number of issues relating to the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy, trade, tourism, higher education, agrifood, technical innovation, etc.
Apart from keynote speeches and panel discussions, the conference also offered a platform for networking and interaction among participants such as exchanging business cards and raising questions.
"This is the 6th China Ireland Business Summit and due to COVID, the first time it will be held virtually," said Martin Murray, Executive Director of Asia Matters, a Dublin-based think tank, which organized the conference in partnership with Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
"The strategic importance of the China-Ireland, and indeed the China-Cork partnership is critically important now more than ever, with the OECD predicting China as the only G20 country to grow 1.8 percent in 2020 and 8 percent in 2021," said Murray.
In his opening speech, Joe Kavanagh, Lord Mayor of Cork, said that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the twinning partnership between Cork and Shanghai and "the continuation of the strategic partnership with China is of key importance to the city with its outward focus in the global economy."
Chinese Ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong and Mayor of the County of Cork Mary Linehan Foley are scheduled to address the second day of the meeting, according to a program of the summit.