Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Economic Competitiveness

12:00 pm

Photo of John DeasyJohn Deasy (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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Question 78: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her plans to introduce export support measures to assist companies that have been adversely affected by the change over the past three years of the value of the euro in respect of sterling and the US dollar; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44393/09]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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My Department, through Enterprise Ireland, is active both in assisting Irish indigenous companies to find new markets for their products and services and to increase their existing level of market share. Encouraging companies to re-orientate towards the Eurozone in the first instance and, for those which are most capable, into areas such as the Gulf, Brazil, India and China, where economies are still growing is a priority. I have been active in leading trade missions to develop new opportunities for Irish exporters and will continue to do so, to both existing long-established markets, to the new EU Member States and also to other emerging high-growth markets, with a view to increasing the share of exports by Irish companies worldwide.

Continuous productivity improvements are essential if Irish companies are to increase their export potential and reach the world-class standards necessary to meet the challenges of the international market place. Sustainable economic recovery will be driven by enterprises focused on increasing their exports of innovative products and services in global markets. To support this, I launched the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund earlier this year, which enables internationally trading companies survive the current global downturn by supporting their drive to reduce costs and, through increased competitiveness, gain sales in overseas markets.

This month I announced that 7,478 jobs are to receive direct support under the first round of the Employment Subsidy Scheme (ESS). A total of 453 companies engaged in manufacturing and/or internationally traded services are being informed of their successful applications. The Scheme provides a subsidy of €9,100 over fifteen months per qualifying employee in vulnerable but viable firms. Due to a lower than anticipated take-up, I will shortly be announcing details of a second broader call for ESS applications with extended eligibility criteria open to both exporting and non-exporting firms.


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