A group of leaders from local level in China arrived in Belfast yesterday for a meeting that takes place over the weekend.
The 2017 UK-Regional Leaders Summit, , about which our business correspondent Richard Sherriff writes on page 55, will discuss creative industries, health service technology and agri-food security.
It is very good news that Northern Ireland was successful in its bid to host the summit, and was supported by both London and Beijing in that effort.
Building links with China will be a key part of the Province’s economic strategy if we are to develop a meaningful international trading future.
Northern Ireland already has a bureau in China, as it does in Washington DC, with a role of strengthening the relationship with that vast nation.
With a population of 1.4 billion people, China already has an overall Gross Domestic Product 60% as large as that of the richest country, the United States.
Among many future opportunities is future tourism from China. If only take 2% of China’s people travel widely around the world that equates to 30 million globe trotters.
China has a radically different culture to the West, including a different view on human rights, but even so the West will have to do large-scale business with it.
This important event raises Northern Ireland’s profile within that emerging superpower.