Friday 18 January 2019

Irish trade deals are revealed in Australia


President Higgins meets Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with his wife Sabina. Photo: Maxwells
President Higgins meets Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with his wife Sabina. Photo: Maxwells
President Michael D Higgins inspects a guard of honour on the second day of his visit to Canberra. Photo: Maxwells
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Forklift supplier Combilift, healthcare-technology company Oneview and foreign-exchange specialist Fexco are among the 14 Irish companies to announce significant trade deals as President Michael D Higgins continues his State visit to Australia.

Today, the President and the Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald, will arrive in Sydney to attend a business lunch as part of the Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade-and-investment programme. Enterprise Ireland aims to double Irish exports to Australia by 2020. The current mission is the largest programme of trade activity that it has undertaken for this region, with 55 clients flying to Australia to promote their products. They operate in nine industries, including digital technology, building, engineering and consumer products.

The 14 Irish firms will work with Australian partners including Qantas, Telstra, the University of Sydney, Bunnings, and Sydney Children's Hospital.

Enterprise Ireland said that of the 55 Irish companies participating, 27 were not yet export to the Australian market and 16 were heavily exposed to Brexit.

CEO Julia Sinnamon said Ireland's trade links with Australia were even more important in the wake of Brexit. She said it was essential to ensure companies are 'Brexit-proof'. "It's about making sure we continue to reduce our dependence on the UK," she said. As part of its new campaign, Enterprise Ireland is using the slogan "the Irish advantage".

Last year, more than 300 Enterprise Ireland clients clocked up exports of €256m to Australia. This marks an increase of 14pc when compared to figures from 2015.

In fact, the Asia-Pacific region was the second-fastest-growing region for Enterprise Ireland-backed companies, with a growth of 16pc in 2016.

Ms Sinnamon said that "an open mind and an agility and understanding of working with cultures" had helped Ireland prosper overseas.

The Tánaiste arrived in Canberra on Monday.

"Building awareness internationally of the Irish capability in key sectors is critically important, particularly in light of Brexit," she said. Since June 2016, her department has intensified its efforts to increase export market penetration and "diversification of Irish companies into alternative markets", she said.

In numbers


The number of Enterprise Ireland backed companies exporting to Australia


The number of Irish firms travelling


The number of deals expected to be done

Irish Independent

Also in Business