To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the trade missions planned for 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
Ministerial-led trade missions are a central element of the Government’s support for Ireland’s exports, inward investment, tourism, and international education. An intensive programme of trade missions is a key part of our overall strategy of pursuing market diversification and building resilience into our economy in response to changes in the global trade and investment environment, and the complex challenges presented by Brexit.
As set out in the Government’s new trade and investment strategy, entitled Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World, which was launched by the Taoiseach on 8 March last, we are committed to intensifying the number, focus and market reach of trade and investment missions and events in 2017, in order to deepen existing trade and investment relationships and forging new linkages.
The overall number of ministerial-led trade missions has increased substantially in recent years. These high level missions, led by a range of Ministers across all Departments, complement the ongoing year-round work of our Embassy network and agencies in-market, including Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Bord Bia, Tourism Ireland, in promoting awareness of and confidence in Ireland as a place to invest and do business and in showcasing Ireland’s unique strengths.
The development of the trade mission programme is a collaborative exercise involving input from my Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and other state agencies. Under Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World, we have committed ourselves to further enhancing coherence across Government around trade missions to ensure that these activities are strategically targeted and adaptive to our evolving trade and investment priorities.
I am acutely conscious of the importance of minister-led trade missions in terms of securing high level access for Irish companies seeking to grow their businesses overseas and increase jobs at home. Our 80-strong network of embassies and consulates fulfil a vital role in supporting such missions.
This year, 46 international ministerial-led trade events are planned by Enterprise Ireland with a focus on market diversification and intensification.
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