▪ Over 200 meetings will be attended by the 34 Enterprise Ireland backed companies on the trade mission covering the ICT, fintech, aviation, agri-tech, food tech, engineering and life sciences sectors.
▪ Marks the first Irish trade mission to Kuwait and Bahrain in 10 years.
▪ Middle East market is a major focus for Ireland to further expand its business presence as Irish companies diversify into global markets.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday 17 November 2019 – Pat Breen T.D. Ireland’s Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection will today commence one of the largest trade missions to the region covering Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain accompanied by 34 leading Irish companies.
The five day trade mission organised by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government agency that promotes Irish enterprises and international trade, will be focused on enhancing the existing trade links with the region and promoting Ireland as a world class provider of goods and services across the ICT, fintech, aviation, agri-tech, food tech, engineering and life sciences sectors.
This trade mission signifies the importance of the region to Ireland which has experienced a year on year increase in exports from Irish companies. In total, Irish trade with the three countries being visited by Minister Breen has increased by 23 percent for the period January to August 2019 compared to the same period last year.
Marking the start of the trade mission, Minister Pat Breen said, “I am delighted to be back in the Middle East leading such a diverse range of companies that demonstrate the strength of Irish expertise, goods, and services. We value the strong relationships we have in the region and look forward to emphasizing our “Irish Advantage” and so that the exports between our countries can continue to grow”.
The focus on the region forms part of Ireland’s strategy to diversify further into global markets in preparation for Brexit and contributing to the target of delivering 60,000 new jobs in Ireland and the aim to increase exports by an additional €5 billion (Euros) by 2020.
The Government of Ireland’s ‘Global Ireland’ strategy is an ‘all-of-Government’ programme which aims to double Ireland’s impact in the world by 2025 through trade, bilateral and multilateral partnerships, and their wider contribution to the world. In line with this, Minister Breen will also formally open the recently expanded Enterprise Ireland office in Dubai which has grown since first being established in 2002.
Mike Hogan, Manager Middle East, and North Africa, Enterprise Ireland said, “The 34 participating Irish companies see the Middle East as a key element of their current and future export diversification strategy. This trade mission is key to strengthening connections between Irish industry and companies across the region. Expanding the Irish export footprint is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland, and we are working closely with Irish companies to realize opportunities to support greater market diversification”.
In Kuwait, Minister Breen will hold a series of meetings across a range of sectors to explore opportunities in the aviation, FinTech and telecom sectors. This will include Minister Breen meeting with senior representatives of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority, the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority, and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce.
Commenting on the trade mission to Kuwait, which will mark the first in 10 years, Minister Breen said, “This trade mission is the first of many initiatives to explore the opportunities open for Irish companies in partnership between Enterprise Ireland and Kuwait and to build on our existing trading relationships. We look forward to deepening the level of cooperation between our two countries to mutually benefit our economies”.
In the United Arab Emirates, Minister Breen will visit the Dubai Air Show to showcase the Irish aviation innovation on display at the Ireland pavilion and meet with Irish professionals working across the aviation sector in the UAE. Whilst in the UAE, Minister Breen will also meet with business groups, government representatives in Sharjah across a range of sectors, and present 130 paramedics with their certificates from the Higher Colleges of Technology.
A series of business deals are also expected to be finalized which will be recognised by Minister Breen during his visit, including from Ireland’s global connectivity management software provider, Cubic Telecom, who are expected to set out a significant strategic partnership with Etisalat. Irish award- winning international engineering firm, Byrne Looby, on the trade mission has just been appointed by Dubai Creek Harbour, the joint venture between Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties, to provide specialist 3D soil structure analysis engineering support.
Minister Breen highlighting the UAE leg of the visit said, “We have a long and deep relationship with the UAE which is home to 10,000 of our Irish citizens. Ireland and the UAE share many similar qualities, our nations are pro-business and enterprise with modern, dynamic and consumer driven economies. With our shared agenda in embracing and advancing innovation, there is a huge opportunity here for Irish companies to bring their world-class goods and services to market”.
In the final stage of the trade mission, Minister Breen will visit Bahrain where Irish exports this year have increased by over 90 percent compared to the same period last year. Ireland’s leading food retail, wholesale and foodservice company, Musgrave, has reached an agreement with Bahrain’s Alosra supermarket chain to distribute Irish beef which will commence this week, adding to the other recent series of products from its SuperValu and Musgrave Excellence own-brand range, as well as selected products from its Food Academy programme to support up and coming suppliers. This offering of Irish sourced food products is a reflection of the synergy of both Irish and Bahraini culture, highlighting the great opportunities that exist for Irish food products to be distributed across Bahrain.
In Bahrain, Minister Breen will be actively exploring opportunities to deepen the cooperation between Ireland and Bahrain by holding several meetings in the telecoms, FinTech, and aviation sectors including senior representatives from the Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) and the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
Highlighting the opportunity in Bahrain, Minister Breen said, “Irish exports to Bahrain are growing significantly and the companies accompanying me to Bahrain are keen to make an important contribution to the further development of Bahrain’s dynamic economy. Many are already in the process of establishing market positions here, and we see significant potential for building new and mutually beneficial relationships.”