Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Questions (103)

Billy Kelleher


103. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the fact that Ireland is the most vulnerable nation in increased global trade conflict and protectionism, ranked first out of 42 countries in a new index of globalisation (details supplied). [25930/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The '2018 Globalization Report: Who Benefits Most from Globalization' which the Deputy refers to in his question was published on the 8th June 2018 by Bertelsmann Stiftung. The report analyses globalisation’s effect on growth across a total of 42 countries. The report found that Ireland is the most globalised economy out of the 42 studied and is highly integrated especially in global capital markets. The average annual per capita income gain from 1990 onwards was €1,261 placing Ireland 4th of the countries studied.

Ireland is an open, highly developed and well-connected economy that is dependent on international trade and investment for sustainable growth. I am well aware of the shifting and evolving global challenges which may affect us in the future. No open economy like ours can be fully shielded against global impacts. However, I am confident that we have the right policies to build resilience where possible and firmly strengthen our competitiveness and innovative capacity, thus ensuring the economy is properly positioned to meet any external challenges.

From a Trade policy perspective, the Government’s Trade Strategy, ‘Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World’, supports an extensive programme of Ministerial-led trade missions, as part of a major drive towards market diversification. This includes markets that are growing and have scale as well as markets where we are already well established but with potential for further growth. We aim by 2020 to increase indigenous exports by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, including food, to reach €26 billion, achieve 80% of indigenous export growth outside of the UK market and secure 900 new foreign direct investments.

On the 12th of March, Enterprise Ireland announced that it is set to undertake over 200 international and domestic trade events in 2018 to accelerate the number of Enterprise Ireland clients diversifying into new markets, beyond the UK and into the Eurozone and global markets. The number of trade events being undertaken represents a 50% increase on 2017, 70 of these export focused trade events will be led by Government Ministers.

As well as the global efforts supported by our Enterprise Agencies, key to our success has been our commitment to trade liberalisation in order to open new markets for our all trading sectors. The EU suite of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with third countries help to open new markets, break down barriers and provide new opportunities for Irish based firms. Brexit has reinforced the importance of accelerating the delivery of EU trade deals with leading economies and regional blocs.

Most recently, the EU–Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) entered into force provisionally from the 21st September 2017. This means that Irish companies may now take advantage of the all important provisions of CETA including the elimination of tariffs on almost all key exports, access to the Canadian procurement market, the easing of regulatory barriers and more transparent rules for market access.

The EU and Japan reached political agreement last year on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the EU and Mexico reached political agreement earlier this year on the modernisation of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement. The EU negotiations with the Mercosur countries continue. Last month, EU Trade Ministers approved negotiating directives for free trade agreements with Australia and with New Zealand with the first formal negotiation rounds envisaged to take place in July 2018.

Ireland will continue to support the EU’s ambitious programme of negotiating new Free Trade Agreements giving Irish based firms expanded market access and a predictable trading environment in third countries, including SMEs. To this end, my Department has commissioned a major examination of the economic opportunities and impacts for Ireland arising from EU Free Trade Agreements which will be available later this year.

This week, the Taoiseach launched 'Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025' which represents the most ambitious renewal and expansion of Ireland’s international presence ever undertaken, seeking to double the scope and impact of Ireland’s global footprint in the period to 2025. Global Ireland 2025 will support Ireland’s efforts to grow and diversify export markets, inward investment and tourism.