After months of speculation throughout the country, An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the first phase of the massive “Euro Chinese Trading Hub” at Creggan, a site situated 2km from Athlone. The proposed plans include three major exhibition halls and will be a base for Chinese companies to promote trade and commerce with Europe and the rest of the world.
The first phase alone will cost over €175 million to develop and will employ 1,530 people. Those behind the scheme believe it will attract up to 1,750 visitors every day and claim that it would end the need for business leaders on the US east coast to go through time-consuming visa applications and travel arrangements to get into China to see factories and products and place orders.
It is hoped that Chinese companies would be interested in having a trading hub in Ireland, from where they could sell their wares directly to European customers, without the need for those customers to travel to China.
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