PLANS for a massive Chinese trade centre in Ireland could compete with Wirral's ambitions to become a key trading centre into Europe.
A 1.4 billion Euro scheme near Athlone in Ireland aims to become a Europe-China trading hub similar to those outlined by Peel for an international trade centre in Wirral Waters.
But Peel's Lindsey Ashworth said they had been monitoring the Irish plans and remain confident their ITC "will be first and will be better".
Reports from Ireland say the project – which has just received planning permission – "aims to become Europe's largest source of Chinese branded goods".
Ireland had been chosen due to its EU location, English language and generous corporate taxes.
However Wirral Waters, which is in an Enterprise Zone which also offers tax incentives, is not under threat according to Mr Ashworth.
The £200m international trade centre is intended to kick-start the £4.5billion Wirral Waters scheme for Birkenhead dockland and provide thousands of jobs over the next few years.
It was given planning permission by Wirral Council in September 2011 and has received support from the three main parties.
Mr Ashworth said the project is already underway with the dockland for the first phase being decontaminated, a process which should be completed by the end of 2012 with construct-ion expected early next year.
He said they hope to have the ITC open and operating by spring 2014 and acknowledged it is “a race against time” but said all such developments are in competition.
Mr Ashworth said: “We are not intimidated because that scheme in Ireland is in the middle of nowhere. People will not travel far from the airport to go somewhere like this. Ours is within an hour of two international airports.
“People will only go if it’s in a geographically perfect location which ours is.
“We will blow them out of the water – we just have to be first and best and do a fantastic job.”
He said they already have lots of tenants lined up for the Wirral ITC.