Taoiseach Micheál Martin addresses Chinese trade fair featuring Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko

Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed a Chinese trade fair which also featured a speech from Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

r Martin gave pre-recorded address which was aired at the China International Fair for Trade in Services.

Ireland is the “country of honour” at the fair which is being held in the China National Convention Centre and Shougang Park in Beijing.

Chinese president Xi Jinping delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony on Thursday.

It was reported in Chinese media that the other speakers included the Taoiseach, Mr Lukashenko, Uruguayan president Luis Lacalle Pou, Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vietnamese prime minister Pham Minh Chinh and World Trade Organisation deputy director-general Anabel Gonzalez.

Mr Martin recently met exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and criticised Mr Lukashenko’s abduction of journalist Roman Protasevich from a Ryanair flight in May.

“The forced landing of a passenger plane in Belarus today to detain a journalist is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Martin said at the time.

“These unprecedented actions have caused widespread concern across the EU and they must be addressed,” he added.

The Taoiseach’s spokesperson today said: “The Taoiseach sent a pre-recorded goodwill message to the International Fair for Trade in Services Summit which is currently taking place in Beijing.

“It is a major trade show, with a wide international presence and is supported by the WTO, UNCTAD (the UN trade body) and the OECD.

“This year’s event is taking place in hybrid form – both physical and online – and Ireland’s four enterprise agencies (IDA, Enterprise Ireland. Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland) and a number of Irish companies will be showcasing the best that Ireland has to offer -in areas including tourism, culture, higher education, technology and agrifood – to a high-level Chinese and international audience.”

“At a time when the world is looking to economic recovery after Covid19, it is an important opportunity for Ireland and Irish companies to engage and to forge new trade connections,” the spokesperson added.

Irish Ambassador to China Ann Derwin will attend the fair in person, and 12 Irish organisations who are members of the Ireland China Science and Technology Association are taking part on-line.

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