Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
111. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps being taken to extend trade links globally through consulates and embassies, with particular reference to the need to replace losses through Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53814/19]
As part of Team Ireland, Ireland’s network of Missions continues to play a central role in advancing Ireland’s trading relationships. Embassies and Consulates around the world provide vital support for Ireland’s state agencies, including by supporting their strategic objectives and activities in overseas markets.
In June 2018, the Government launched the Global Ireland initiative, which aims to double the impact and scope of Ireland’s global footprint by 2025. Global Ireland's targets include enhanced global engagement, the expansion of Ireland’s embassy network and strengthening of Ireland’s state agency presence overseas.
Since Global Ireland’s launch last year, new Embassies have opened in Wellington, Bogotá, Amman, Monrovia and Santiago de Chile, and new Consulates General in Vancouver, Mumbai, Cardiff, Los Angeles and Frankfurt.
These new Missions now bring to 90 the number of diplomatic and consular Missions in the network with 10 opened since the start of the expansion plan. Embassies are scheduled to open in 2020 in Rabat, Kiev and Manila.
Locations are chosen based on a range of factors, including their potential to diversify our markets, increase bilateral trade and investment, and enable Irish companies to take advantage of new opportunities. In light of Brexit, these factors are more important than ever.
In addition, the Department’s officers overseas engage with host country Governments and multilateral institutions on a range of trade-related issues, including market access, regulatory compliance, visas, phyto-sanitary issues, and Double Taxation Agreements.
The Embassy network also supports Irish businesses in market by providing contacts and information, organising visits overseas by Ministers and supporting trade missions, all in partnership with the state agencies. This approach is aligned with the objectives set out in the Government’s trade strategy Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World.