Trade and international affairs

What has changed?

  • The programme indicates that new cross sectoral, whole of government trade strategies for the Asia-Pacific and Americas region are to be developed. Ibec believes the development of trade and diplomatic relations with these regions is key to maintaining the competitiveness of Irish business on the global stage.
  • The programme states that Ireland’s mission network abroad is to be evaluated to ensure its capacities are consistent with Ireland’s strategic priorities with a view to expansion in line with the proposed strategies. Ibec maintains positive links with Irish missions abroad and supports the promotion of Irish trade and economic interests through the Embassy network.
  • Ibec welcomes the strong commitment to safeguard Irish offensive and defensive interests in Agriculture and Marine trade negotiations with a particular focus on beef and food safety standards.

Positives for business

  • Minister led trade missions are to continue. Strong export figures for Ireland indicate the success of these missions in the past.

 Outstanding issues and missed opportunities

  • No reference is made to the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) at international level or the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US.
  • It is disappointing not to see a strong statement recognising the importance of free trade to    the Irish economy. Free trade agreements (FTAs) contribute to export growth in goods and services. The European Commission is currently negotiating several FTAs and the government should engage with partners at EU and international level to ensure that Ireland can benefit from the final agreements.

Contact Pat Ivory, International and Trade policy at
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