China's shift in child policy could benefit Northern Ireland economy
Northern Ireland could receive an export boost from China's decision to relax its one-child policy, it has been claimed.
China introduced the policy of restricting families to just one child in 1979 to rein in population growth.
But recent economic travails for China - and its increasingly elderly population - have prompted a change of heart.
A report by the Office for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forecast that China's ageing population could see it overtaken by India and Indonesia as the most rapidly growing non-OECD economy by 2020. Wayne Horwood, managing director of corporate finance advisors HNH, said the decision could have knock-on benefits for Northern Ireland.
"Whilst the news of this policy shift may, at first glance, appear to be of little consequence to Northern Ireland, it is worth noting that our manufacturing exports to China have increased by 58% over the past four years.
"The Chinese market is, and will continue to be, a key source of economic growth in Northern Ireland and the long-term impact of an increasing working age population in China should provide a further export stimulus.
"A growing population in China should encourage Northern Ireland companies to continue looking east for growth opportunities across a wide range of sectors."
He added: "Confidence in the markets can only be good for the global economy and Northern Ireland."