An Bord Tráchtála, the executive agency for which I have overall policy responsibility, plays an active role in ensuring that North-South trade is not impeded by any lack of marketing or promotional activity. The board has been active particularly in researching two-way trade opportunities; producing a wide range of up-to-date, comprehensive and user-friendly market information sources; and working closely with a variety of bodies, including the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, LEDU and the IBEC/CBI Business Council.
This work has been complemented by a series of workshops and seminars, bringing together buyers and sellers from North and South. Last week, I opened one such workshop, in Carrickmacross, where 120 companies met 21 public sector and utility purchasers in a series of face-to-face meetings. In 1995, the same workshop generated business of £3.5 million for Irish SMEs from both parts of the island.