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Pat Breen, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection went full steam ahead during two-day trade discussions with Switzerland during International Markets Week held earlier this month. His goal? Diversification into Swiss markets including medtech, agriculture and construction.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, also stressed the importance of European trade deals in her opening speech for International Markets Week, stating that: “Irish exporters need to look at the Eurozone area as an extension of our own market, whereby Europe is viewed as a new domestic market with Ireland at its heart.”
Well, being Ireland’s 5th largest trade partner, Switzerland is big business for Irish exports, and the intention of Enterprise Ireland is to keep it that way as they strive towards hitting their 2020 target of increasing European exports by 50%.
Exports to Switzerland are already demonstrating their growth; client companies of Enterprise Ireland showed an increase of 8% in Irish exports to Switzerland in 2017, a value of €330m.
During his trip, Minister Breen also joined an audience of over 100 business leaders from both Ireland and Switzerland during the discussions and attended the 10th year anniversary reception for the Swiss Irish Business Network. Enterprise Ireland’s focus on the agriculture sector meant that agritech companies who were participating in negotiations had the opportunity to visit the Swiss Future Farm Research Facility during their visit. The facility houses and demonstrates some of the word class quality of new ag-tech which Ireland is currently producing.
During the two-day event, over 650 Irish exporters attended as well as over 150 Market Advisors from the 33 overseas offices of Enterprise Ireland. Over 2,000 meetings were scheduled, and the topic was what looked like a common goal for many Irish exporters and Enterprise Ireland alike.
84% of the 650 Irish exporter attendees demonstrated the clear intention to diversify into new markets both on a European and international level. While almost a third of them still want to focus on export growth within the UK market following Brexit. Almost half of the Enterprise Ireland clients in attendance wanted to ensure that the Eurozone was a main focus in their expansion goals, meaning that a special Eurozone area was created at the tradeshow for them. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Advisors were on hand to offer their best advice to the clients on entering and building a sustainable trade partnership with countries including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Italy and the Netherlands.
The creation of this Eurozone area at the show aligns with Enterprise Ireland’s goals to make trade discussions and agreements a top priority over the coming three months with the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. Their hope is that these countries will be the key to helping them reach their target of the creation of 60,000 new jobs and €5billion in exports by 2020. You can find out more about Enterprise Ireland’s upcoming events here.