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Minister Flanagan focuses 13th ETC on the high potential of Asia-Pacific for Irish exporters

Minister Charles Flanagan, Trade, Press Releases, Ireland, 2016

 

Minister Flanagan focuses 13th ETC on the high potential of Asia-Pacific for Irish exporters

 - Special Focus on China; Japan; and ASEAN
 - Minister Flanagan to launch €2 million partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) following the ETC

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan T.D., will chair the 13th meeting of the Export Trade Council (ETC) today (Tuesday) in Iveagh House.

This gathering of the ETC will focus on the high potential of the Asia Pacific region and will bring together senior Ministers with an economic focus, the heads of the State agencies involved in promoting trade, tourism, investment and education abroad and representatives of the private sector. Ireland’s Ambassador to China, Paul Kavanagh, and Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan, Anne Barrington, will address the ETC and there will be a briefing on the potential of the ASEAN region (encompassing ten South East Asian countries).

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Flanagan said: 

“In an evolving economic and trading environment, the ETC provides Government and private sector representatives with an invaluable forum for a thorough and wide reaching exchange of views on the opportunities and challenges facing Irish exporters.  In the wake of Brexit, it is imperative that we coordinate our responses in working to secure market share and take advantage of new opportunities for Irish business in key markets.  

“Today’s meeting will have a particular focus on the Asia Pacific region. Total exports of goods and services from Ireland to the Asia Pacific region exceeded €20 billion in 2014 and continue to grow. As a trading nation it is vital that Ireland seeks opportunities to meet growing demand for imported goods and services in the region.  This is particularly important in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

“The US ‘pivot’ towards Asia, the UK’s deepening links with Asia and the ongoing development of a new EU-China strategy all suggest that the time is ripe for Ireland to develop a strategy so we can continue to compete in this region which is forecast to be the major source of economic growth in the coming years. 

“The Programme for Partnership Government mandated a whole-of-Government cross sectoral strategy for the Asia Pacific region and my Department has begun preparatory work on the implementation of this commitment. In this context, I am particularly pleased that we will be joined by Ireland’s Ambassadors to China and Japan. As heads of Team Ireland comprising the Embassy and state agencies - including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and Bord Bia - they bring market insights that will enhance and inform our discussion on this crucial region for Irish exporters. 

“Total trade between Ireland and China was worth approximately  €8 billion in 2014 and, with a population of 1.35 billion people and a GDP of over €10 trillion, China is the world’s most populous country and set to become its largest economy. Japan is the second largest developed economy in the world and trade with Ireland was worth over €7 billion in 2014.  Japan is an important springboard to other Asian markets as well as having great potential for Irish exporters. South Korea was the first country in the Asia Pacific region to have a fully operational Free Trade Agreement with the EU. Since the coming into effect of the FTA, EU exports to Korea have increased by 55%. In the same period, Irish exports to Korea have almost doubled.

“We will also discuss the potential of the ASEAN region which is home to more than 620 million people. In 2014 Ireland’s total trade with the ASEAN region was €4.6 billion. The projected annual growth rate of the ASEAN countries is expected to be an average 5.6% over the next five years.

“The Asia Pacific region also includes Australia and New Zealand.  Australia and New Zealand have been highly successful in engaging with Asia given their geographical location.  There is much we can learn from them in turn. 

“The Asia Pacific region as a whole is home to some of the youngest populations in the world.  India alone is home to one sixth of the world’s population with some 1.3 billion people; more than 50% of whom are under 25.  As Europe ages, we must look East to secure our own future.”

Following on from the ETC meeting in July held in the wake of the UK EU Referendum result, today’s meeting will also provide an opportunity for a further exchange of views on the challenges and opportunities for Irish export trade in a post-Brexit environment. Minister Flanagan stated:

“Today’s meeting will also provide a timely opportunity for a further exchange of views on the economic impact of Brexit in light of recent statements by the UK Government on the triggering of Article 50.”

Following the plenary meeting of the Export Trade Council, Minister Flanagan will host the announcement by Science Foundation Ireland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) of a new €2m partnership which will support collaborative research projects between researchers in Ireland and the People’s Republic of China. The Minister will then host an Asia Pacific business networking event to facilitate further exchanges with the wider private sector on economic opportunities in the region for Ireland. 

ENDS
Press Office
18 October 2016

Note for Editors:

The Export Trade Council (ETC), which is chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, T.D, was established in 2011 to meet twice yearly in order to strengthen cooperation and coordination across all Government Departments and State agencies involved in the promotion of trade, tourism and inward investment.  

In addition to its twice yearly meetings, Minister Flanagan convened extraordinary meetings of the ETC in June and July 2016 in connection with the UK referendum.  This meeting will be the first to have a special focus on the potential of the Asia-Pacific region for Irish investors.

The ETC brings together senior Ministers with an economic focus, the heads of the State agencies involved in promoting trade, tourism, investment and education abroad with the support of the Embassy network, and members drawn from the private sector, including IBEC, the Irish Exporters Association and a number of business people with expertise in specific sectoral areas.

ASEAN: is the Association of South East Asian Nations.  Its members are: Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Brunei Darussalam; Viet Nam; Lao PDR; Myanmar; and Cambodia.  See: http://asean.org/

The Programme for Government (2016) states: “We will develop a new cross-sectoral, whole-of-government Asia-Pacific Strategy, recognising the strengthening relationship between Ireland and many Asia-Pacific countries.” (p. 145)