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New Trade Strategy to Safeguard Irish Jobs and Secure Future Investments

With global uncertainty increasing and Ireland facing rising competition from other fast-growing economies, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar has published a new trade and investment strategy Value for Ireland, Values for the World to protect and grow our trade with other countries.

Almost half of our workforce – 1.3 million jobs – is underpinned by international trade and investment. While Ireland’s total trade with the world exceeded €840 billion, the highest level on record last year, the Tánaiste warned that we cannot take this for granted and must work to ensure that we maintain and grow investment in Ireland.

The Tánaiste said, “although we have our problems, in a world of nearly 200 countries, Ireland is consistently ranked in the top 10 or 20 in terms of prosperity and high living standards. Unlike other countries, we don’t rely on vast natural resources, such as oil, gas or diamonds for this wealth. Trade is the source of our economic growth. Our attractiveness as a place to invest and our ability, as part of the EU, to enter and keep international free trade agreements with other countries is the entire basis of our economic model. It’s what has raised our living standards over the years.”

“COVID-19, Brexit, international tax reforms, new technology, the need to take radical action to reduce our emissions and Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine have all caused huge disruption to trade over the past few years and have redefined future risks, challenges and opportunities of doing trade into the future. I’m particularly concerned with the implications these events will have for protectionism, with many using them as an excuse to put up barriers, which would be detrimental for Ireland and I believe quality of life globally.”

“This new Strategy is an opportunity for us to look at the changed global landscape and the implications it has for trade. Record levels of trade cannot be taken for granted. Maintaining and expanding global trade in a principled way will continue to be essential to Ireland’s economic wellbeing, living standards and sustainable development.”

The strategy outlines 7 top actions, including:

  • Attending to our broader ecosystem to maintain and enhance our competitiveness, to grow Irish-owned business, attract FDI and maintain high standards of living.
  • Establishing an Expert Group on Global Value Chains and Supply Chains to identify global supply chain opportunities and threats. The Group will examine themes such as economic nationalism, open strategic autonomy, and ‘re-shoring’ initiatives.
  • Launching a Government of Ireland communications campaign to highlight the benefits of international trade and investment to a broader Irish domestic audience and foster a deeper understanding of the important role that trade and investment plays in providing jobs and to promote Ireland’s and the EU’s wider interests, including our values, principles and standards.
  • 1 ‘whole-of-government’ trade mission annually.
  • Making businesses more aware of our network of free trade agreements and tax treaties.

The Tánaiste said, “I have established and chair the Trade and Investment Council, which is a group made up of Ministers, senior officials, heads of state agencies and representatives of business organisations. This group will oversee the implementation of this Strategy to create jobs, grow businesses and increase revenues.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy said, “global events will continue to pose challenges to all of us, but if we maintain our open, pro-trade outlook and continue to grow our global footprint we will be better placed to navigate those challenges. In the past decade Ireland’s trade in goods and services increased by 171% from €310 billion to over €840 billion and with this new Strategy and the work of our enterprise agencies we want to see that grow further with particular focus and benefit for our regions.”

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