Today 1st May 2012, Ireland gave the green light to the building of a Trading Hub for China in Athlone. In 2010 Endslate Media and France24 broke this story .
An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the first phase of the massive “Euro Chinese Trading Hub” at Creggan, 2km from Athlone, including three major exhibition halls and other facilities totalling 102, 348sq m (1.1m sq ft).
It is planned the €175 million first phase of the hub will be a base for Chinese companies to promote trade and commerce with Europe and the rest of the world. It is intended site will employ 1,530 people after an initial boost of 1,200 construction jobs.
It is expected that Athlone Business Park Ltd will market the proposed development to Chinese companies interested in having an trading hub where they could sell their wares directly to European customers, without the need to travel to China.