Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Brexit Issues

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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234. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which Ireland’s international network of embassies can be utilised in the promotion of trade and Irish exports in the aftermath of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44639/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the Global Ireland 2025 objective of Strengthening Team Ireland’s presence abroad and accelerating diversification of export markets, my Department has appointed four senior officials to our Embassies since 2019.

The Counsellor post in the Embassy in Washington is designed to reflect the increasing importance of Ireland’s strategic trade and investment interests and US developments in these policy domains in the current rapidly evolving US policy context. The need to build on our growing relationship with China, to gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges for exports and investment and to promote cooperation, led the Department to making its first deployment at Attaché level in the Embassy in Beijing. This expansion in 2020 builds on the appointment in 2019 of senior officials to Berlin and London and of the work of the larger team from the Department based in Brussels on trade and competitiveness, and in Geneva, dealing with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Under Global Ireland 2025 Enterprise Ireland is charged with accelerating the diversification of export markets by its clients, with the ambition to:

- double the total value of EI client exports outside the UK from the 2015 baseline by 2025;

- double Eurozone exports by 2025; and

- increase the diversification of client exports into new markets, with at least 70% of exports going beyond the UK by 2025.

Significant progress is being made in achieving these targets. Enterprise Ireland client companies achieved record levels of exports in 2019 of €25.6bn, against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty. In 2019, the Eurozone region, which is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland’s diversification strategy, saw growth of 15% to €5.65bn, with Germany, France and the Netherlands each exceeding €1bn in exports. Exports to North America increased from €4.08bn in 2018 to €4.72bn, an increase of 16%.

To support the achievement of export diversification targets under Global Ireland 2025, Enterprise Ireland has strengthened its overseas presence by opening eight new offices in 2019, giving the agency a global reach through forty overseas office presences. The eight offices are: Munich, Lyon, Manchester, Copenhagen, Montreal, Seattle, Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City.

IDA Ireland’s objective under Global Ireland 2025 is to accelerate the diversification of FDI source markets, indicated by doubling the growth in IDA-supported project investments from non-US markets in the period 2018-2024. IDA Ireland has made significant progress in achieving this objective. The share of investments from outside North America increased from 30% to 37% over the period 2014 to 2019. At end 2019, there were over 1,600 IDA Ireland client companies employing 245,000 people in Ireland, with 60% of these jobs outside Dublin city.

The agency actively reviews its overseas presence to determine which markets could prove the most valuable sources of FDI in the medium term. Global economic and geopolitical developments mean that the FDI landscape is changing in ways that require IDA to deepen and diversify its overseas presence. Doing so ensures appropriate and effective coverage of both industry sectors and geographies, in order that Ireland continues to capture a significant share of global investment flows which in turn, assists in the achievement of a variety of public policy goals in Ireland.

In accordance with Global Ireland 2025, IDA Ireland has expanded its presence in the United States in California, New York and Chicago; opened an office in Toronto; and, expanded its presence in Paris, Frankfurt and London. IDA is currently assessing the opportunities for opening new offices in Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Middle East, and South Africa.

My Department will continue to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs in utilising the Embassy network to support attainment of our trade and investment goals. We will remain particularly focused in 2021 on assisting Irish business in the context of the UK’s exit from the EU and in the post-COVID - 19 trading environment.


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