Thirty-six Irish companies are embarking on a three-day trade mission to France today with Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, and Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan.
Exports of Irish-owned companies to France have been experiencing strong growth – 14pc in 2011 – and total Irish exports to France are now worth €10bn per year. One of the key aims of the mission is to build on this momentum to further increase sales by Irish companies with existing and new local partners in France.
A total of 199 companies, 53 Irish and 146 French, are involved in the mission, which is part of Enterprise Ireland’s schedule of trade missions to key priority international markets to drive increased Irish exports.
The participating Irish companies are from various sectors, with a particular focus on highlighting the depth of capability Irish companies have to offer in clean tech and agri-technology.
During the trade mission, Bruton will attend meetings across the Paris and Brittany regions with leading French companies and their Irish partners. He will also attend events to promote Irish exporters in clean tech, construction, engineering and agri-technology sectors.
"Two-way trade between Ireland and France is currently running at record levels and there is a clear opportunity for further substantial growth over the next three years," Bruton said prior to his departure.
"France is now Ireland’s fourth-largest export market and the third-largest market for Irish-owned SME exports. The continued strong growth of Irish companies’ exports to France, at 14pc in 2011, represents an excellent performance and highlights that there are significant further opportunities for increased trade and partnerships between Irish and French companies."
Bruton added that jobs are at the very top of the Irish Government’s agenda.
"A central part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to increase export activity with key markets, such as France. Our trade relationship with France is already very strong and this mission is about cementing and building on these existing links and opening new doors for increased export business and collaborative business ventures."
Ryan said there are excellent growth opportunities for innovation-led, export focused Irish firms in the French market and Enterprise Ireland is on hand to help those companies in this market.
"A large number of Irish companies are already operating successfully in France and we are confident that a number of further business successes will result from this trip," said Ryan.