Trade Seminar 2000 21 July 2000
Opportunities for Trade and Investment with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe
Under the sponsorship of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen TD, a one day trade seminar will be held in Dublin on Friday, 21 July next in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Discussion will focus on the promotion of trade and investment opportunities with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The meeting will be attended by Irish Ambassadors, business leaders and representatives of other Government Departments and State agencies. The seminar takes place against the background of the ongoing negotiations leading to the next phase of EU Enlargement.
Minister Cowen will participate in the meeting, which will be formally opened by the Tanaiste, Ms. Mary Harney TD at 9a.m. in Iveagh House. The European Commission in Brussels will be represented at a senior level.
Market conditions in Central and Eastern Europe, opportunities for the export of Irish products and services, and private sector investment in the region, are among the topics to be considered.
The meeting is one in a series of seminars sponsored by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and follows on last year's successful meeting which examined the role of Irish Embassies in promoting Ireland's economic interests abroad.
Announcing the seminar, Minister Cowen said:-
"Next Friday's meeting will bring together Irish Ambassadors serving in Central and Eastern Europe, leading Irish business people and State agency representatives. It provides a valuable opportunity for a considered exchange of views on trade and investment in that region, based on first-hand knowledge and experience of market conditions there.
The economies of Central and Eastern Europe together constitute the EU's second largest trading partner after the USA, and account for some 10% of total EU trade. Irish exports to the region have increased significantly in recent years, rising from £134 million in 1994 to £586 million last year. With EU accession now in prospect for the applicant countries, the opportunities for enhanced trade and investment are very promising and are likely to increase as prosperity levels there move closer to the EU average".
Minister Cowen added:-
"When I decided to sponsor this year's seminar, I was very conscious of the limited extent of our diplomatic representation in the EU applicant countries. Resident missions are indispensable if we are to develop the institutional, business and personal relationships required to foster trade and investment. This requirement becomes all the more important when our economic relations are seen in the context of EU Enlargement. Strengthening our diplomatic presence in this important area will be a priority for me in the period ahead".
The Minister concluded:-
"I would again underline the priority I attach to the role of our Embassies in promoting Irish economic interests abroad. In a variety of ways, the Embassies support and reinforce the efforts of Irish exporters and investors in pursuing economic opportunities worldwide. This activity is carried out in close cooperation with other Government Departments and State agencies. Friday's seminar will provide a further stimulus to this work and enable us to focus, on this occasion, on how we can more effectively promote trade and investment opportunities with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe".