The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, has urged banks to lend to export firms on the Middle East trade mission.
O’Keeffe said that senior bankers on a Government trade mission to the Middle East must “return to first principles” and begin lending to export-led Irish firms.
During his meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, O’Keeffe believes a great divide has been wedged between banks and their comprehension of what export firms need and urged them to re-engage with smaller firms.
“Over the past decade, a gulf has opened between banks’ trade finance practice and their understanding of the needs of export firms. It is vital for Ireland’s export-led economic recovery that the gap is closed immediately and that our banks properly re-engage with our small firms in providing them with the working capital they need to drive their exports in existing and emerging markets.
Bridging the gulf
‘The reality is that without the support of Irish banks emerging markets such as the Middle East cannot be cracked.
‘Ireland’s economic recovery will be export-led and our export performance is much stronger compared to our counterparts in the Eurozone.
The Enterprise Ireland trade mission, ‘Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy’, to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is aimed at boosting exports and growing indigenous Irish firms with particular focus on information communications technology, engineering and education.
Overall, 45 Irish firms are hoping to land lucrative deals and creating jobs at home through the trade mission, which begins begins in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia before moving on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.