Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Brexit Preparations

Photo of Neale RichmondNeale Richmond (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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55. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the status of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to diversify the destination for Irish exports post Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30517/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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Since the onset of Brexit, a key focus of Enterprise Ireland has been to assist companies prepare for Brexit by addressing key readiness issues and to support them to innovate, be competitive and to diversify their global footprint. These are key attributes required to be resilient to economic shocks, such as Brexit.

In 2019 Enterprise Ireland’s client companies reported exports of €25.6bn, an 8 per cent increase on 2018 exports. Indeed, the UK remained the top exporting location for Enterprise Ireland clients with €7.9 billion exports reported, an increase of 2 per cent on 2018.

Nevertheless, diversification of the destination for exports beyond the UK is a key strategic focus of the Government and Enterprise Ireland. In 2019, 31 per cent of recorded exports went to the UK, down from 42 per cent in 2009. This level of exports exceeded the agency’s ambitious target of 33 per cent of exports going to the UK.

Enterprise Ireland’s work to support diversification of markets is underpinned by:

- The Market Discovery Fund to incentivise companies to research viable and sustainable market entry strategies in new geographic markets;

- An increase in the number of trade missions and events; and

- An expansion in the agency’s global footprint to assist companies entering new geographic regions.

Other key diversification initiatives over 2019/2020 includetargeted expansion and strengthening of Enterprise Ireland’s overseas presence, as part of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025initiative, to support the achievement of export diversification targets, the launch of "Enter the Eurozone" programme to support companies to develop a market entry plan for a Eurozone market, delivery of series of Enterprise Ireland Ambition events for targeted markets (e.g. Germany, France, Italy) to increase client awareness of opportunities and the "Irish Advantage" international digital trade platform and communications programme promoting Irish innovation in key sectors to buyers in Brexit and Covid-19 impacted sectors such as life sciences, construction, fintech and cyber security.

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