A trip to the Middle East by the Minister for Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe to generate interest in Irish business takes place this week.
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.
Speaking before he left for the Middle East, O’Keeffe described the trade mission as “an important opportunity to promote Irish firms and generate new business opportunities and jobs here at home”.
“We will use this trade mission to help Irish firms to land deals with companies in the Middle East and showcase the high quality, innovative products and services produced by our indigenous enterprises.”
O’Keeffe said that as well as creating domestic employment, there was an opportunity to develop stronger political and commercial ties between Ireland and the Middle Eastern countries.
“As well as that, we want to develop the political, economic and commercial ties between Ireland and Saudi Arabia and the UAE as part of efforts to capture a greater market share of the Middle-Eastern market and create jobs at home,” he said.
Despite the tough global trade climate last year, Irish exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE were €400m and €276m respectively.