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News : Irish Last Updated: Oct 7, 2011 - 9:40 AM

Bill Clinton to attend second 'Global Irish Economic Forum'
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Oct 7, 2011 - 8:24 AM

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Bill Clinton, the former US president, will attend the second 'Global Irish Economic Forum' of business people and academics which opens this morning at Dublin Castle.

President Clinton will address the gathering on the topic 'Ireland and the Global Irish in the 21st Century' on Saturday. The presence of President Clinton is a positive development but results are likely to be ephemeral.

We are good at talk and setting aspirations but the big problem is the reluctance to reality check our approach to the challenges. 

In conservative Ireland, nothing much has changed in the way we do things since the first forum two years ago; just behold the exhausted volcanoes fighting for the presidency. Like the various do-gooder ideas projects in recent years, there is a hole in the bozone layer.

Carl Schramm, head of the Kauffman Foundation, the US entrepreneurship think-tank, may have some interesting things to say about startups but it’s likely the locals will view it as an endorsement of a failed innovation policy.

So lessons learned are often what is convenient to hear.

One agenda item is:

Job creation- idea generating opportunity on how we can create the right conditions in Ireland for significant job creation.

This following one must surely have been proposed by a believer in fairytales:

How can we further develop a culture of innovation across the economy by building on the Report of the Task Force on Innovation (2010)?

This group produced the alluring fantasy of 117,000 to 235,000 new jobs in the high tech sector in a decade.

We don’t even have basic firm mortality/survival data.

PCH International, which was founded by Liam Casey, a forum participant, to supply accessories to electronics contractors in China, has today announced the launch of PCH China Direct. The 6,000 sq. m facility in Shenzhen, South China will enable global brands to sell customized, personalized accessories and other products directly to the fast-growing Chinese domestic market.

The new facility will employ around 100 people and will have a capacity of approximately 5m units per year. It has a license for domestic trading, with the ability to trade in RMB, meaning that PCH clients’ products will be bought, sold and shipped domestically in China. The new facility will offer postponement, configuration and fulfillment services similar to PCH’s export facility, PCH Global Direct.

PCH CEO Liam Casey will speak at the forum this afternoon and said he is very optimistic about the opportunities available in China, particularly for Irish companies.

“There is a massive appetite in China for foreign brands and the latest consumer electronics brands. PCH China Direct can help our clients service this growing market by using our consumer-driven demand model and supply chain agility. We have 15 years of China expertise, and our export business has grown dramatically. We expect the domestic business will grow very quickly and now we can build on this model to enable our clients to sell directly into China,” said Casey.

Besides Laim Casey, Peter Sutherland and a colleague will represent Goldman Sachs and to round off the self-congratulation, President Clinton will be on hand to ladle the flattery.

Apparently, among the proposals to come from the 2009 forum was the Certificate of Irish Heritage, an official confirmation of Irish ancestry available to those who do not qualify for full citizenship.


Topics for Working Group Sessions

1. Improving our tourism product and promotion abroad- what is Ireland doing right and what further practical steps can we take to build growth in this sector?
2. Job creation- idea generating opportunity on how we can create the right conditions in Ireland for significant job creation.
3. Continuing Success of the IFSC – the vision for the next ten years.
4. The domestic Irish banking sector: how does Ireland avoid the mistakes of the past and position itself to take advantage of the future?
5. The Irish food sector: what further practical steps should Ireland take to expand its global market?
6. How can Ireland maximise the commercial opportunities available from investment and R&D?
7. How can we further develop a culture of innovation across the economy by building on the Report of the Task Force on Innovation (2010)?
8. How can Ireland and the Global Irish Network work together to create new opportunities for indigenous exporting Irish companies by opening new markets and removing trade barriers?
9. The Global Irish Network- what should its main priorities be and what further practical initiatives could it undertake?
10. Connecting the Irish Diaspora with Ireland and each other: how can we most effectively engage the next generation?
11. Foreign investment: how should Ireland maintain and attract new inward investment?
12. The Green Economy: how can Ireland best position itself to take advantage of its natural resources and green image in developing this emerging sector?
13. How can the global Irish business community and the creative and cultural sectors work best together?
14. Ireland’s reputation abroad: how can Ireland and the Global Irish Network deliver a new narrative in the international media?
15. How can we further enhance links between Irish higher education and enterprise?

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