While the UK is and will remain a major market for Irish companies, expanding the Irish export footprint in markets beyond the UK is a key priority. In that context, Enterprise Ireland’s strategy is to support Irish exporters to be more innovative, competitive and market diversified.
Enterprise Ireland client companies achieved record levels of exports in 2018 of €23.8bn, against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty. In 2018, the Eurozone region, which is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland’s diversification strategy, saw growth of 7.6% to €4.8bn, with Germany, France and the Netherlands each exceeding €1bn in exports. Exports to North America increased from €3.87bn in 2017 to €4.08bn in 2018, an increase of 5.5%. Our Enterprise agencies are now opening new offices around the world to support our companies in competing and thriving in global markets.
Ministerial led international trade missions and events support the goal of securing high- level market access for Irish companies aiming to grow business overseas and increase domestic employment. An extensive schedule of international trade missions and events for 2019 was launched in February this year. This covers a total of 207 events within Ireland and international locations, to include 73 Ministerial led trade missions and events.
To date in 2019, Mr Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection and I have led trade missions to Australia and Singapore, the UK, Canada/United States and New Zealand. Trade Missions planned for the reminder of the year will include visits to Switzerland and Germany, Turkey, Spain, Japan and Korea, the Netherlands, North America, the UAE, South Africa and Kenya, and Mexico. These Trade Missions will continue to focus on promoting the innovative capabilities and competitive offerings of Irish companies to international buyers in sectors including internationally traded services, fintech, high-tech construction, engineering, ICT and lifesciences.