Ireland needs to capitalise on Eastern promise

4 Jul 2007

Irish ICT firms are missing out on enormous revenue potential from exports to Japan, Enterprise Ireland’s CEO Frank Ryan said yesterday.

The value of Irish exports to Japan is just 2.3pc of our total export value, compared to the worldwide average of 12pc.

“Japan is the second-biggest market in the world and is currently enjoying its longest economic boom. The value of our exports to Japan was just 2.3pc of total exports in 2006, where the accepted figure as a percentage of trade worldwide is 12pc. Irish global companies simply cannot afford to ignore this market of 127 million people,” Ryan said at ‘Japan – Take a Closer Look’, a joint Enterprise Ireland and IBEC conference in Dublin.

ICT, medical devices, financial services and food and drink are sectors that could prove lucrative for Irish exporters to Japan, he remarked.

“Since 2003, the number of Irish companies with a presence in Japan has increased from 24 to 35. Established companies such as Glen Dimplex and Parc Aviation are enjoying significant returns on their investments as are a growing number of younger companies in various sectors.”

“Japan remains a leading trading partner for Ireland in Asia, accounting for over 30pc of merchandise goods exports and 20pc of services exports to the region,” said Pat Ivory, head of trade and international relations, IBEC. “Irish exporters and investors should be encouraged by the fact that Japan has returned to broad-based economic strength with GDP growth of around 2.6pc forecast for 2007, following similar positive growth rates in the previous three years.

“Continued efforts to reduce barriers to trade and investment, such as improving understanding of the Japanese market and harmonising EU and Japanese technical regulation, are welcome,” he added.

By Niall Byrne