Minister Andrews announces new trade initiative
Speaking at the Franco-Irish Chamber of Commerce in Paris today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews T.D., announced his intention to bring together Irish Ambassadors, the State agencies and Irish businesses, later in the year to discuss ways in which Irish Embassies can improve their services to business.
"I have always emphasised that the promotion of exports and inward investment is a major obligation for Ireland's network of diplomatic missions. It forms an important part of the national interests and concerns abroad which embassies are charged with protecting and promoting. Because ambassadors enjoy privileged access to government decision makers and senior business managers, they can be of invaluable assistance to individual companies and state agencies in terms of providing contacts and removing obstacles to business," the Minister said.
He continued "If co-operation between embassies and consulates and the overseas representatives of the state agencies is to work smoothly, there needs to be an understanding of the different roles of the various state agencies and of the Embassy itself. This is achieved in our nine largest markets through regular meetings of the representatives of the state bodies, chaired by the Ambassador. This partnership needs to be extended and intensified in all our markets."
"Social partnership is a very important part of Ireland's economic development, as is our partnership with other EU Member States," Minister Andrews said, "but its engine is international trade. We are now, in per capita terms, the third largest exporter in the world after Singapore and Belgium. The role of trade in our economy has continued to grow from 114% of GDP in 1990 to 145% in 1997. I am determined that my Department will make an increasing contribution to this trade growth."