VISION 2021- Trade and our place in the Global Economy

Feb 22, 2016

Guest blog written by Emma Kerins, International Affairs Executive, Chambers Ireland

Trade and investment has never been more important for the Irish and European economy. Throughout the recession, it helped stabilise the economy when domestic demand remained weak. Ensuring that Irish companies can continue to benefit from increased access to new markets around the world will be vital to sustaining growth in the years to come.

Although Ireland would consider itself an exporting nation, the majority of our exports are confined to a small number of large indigenous companies, multinational companies and the FDI sector. Our smaller home-grown businesses are less inclined to export their products and services outside of Ireland.  Should even a small number of our multinationals relocate their operations, Ireland would very quickly see a significant drop in export levels.

Therefore, as part of our manifesto for Ireland’s future, Chambers Ireland believe that a concerted effort is required to encourage and support Irish SMEs to become more internationally focused and capable of exporting their products abroad.

One of the main things that Government can do to help Irish business to trade is to firstly ensure that companies can easily reap the benefits of the EU Single Market.  Currently, the Single Market is not working as effectively as it could be and more needs to be done at European level to ensure that it is working in the interests of business, particularly SMEs. The next Government must work at European level to reduce red tape and unnecessary regulation so that Irish SMEs can fully benefit from the Single Market.

The Irish government must also look beyond the EU market for opportunities to do business. The Commission reports that over the next ten to fifteen years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside Europe. Therefore, we are of the view that the EU needs to build relationships with new markets. Ireland must continue to support the development of an ambitious trade agenda that will open new markets to Irish business (US, Canada, Australia and new proposed treaties with the ASEAN countries). We would particularly urge the next Government to support the implementation of the proposed US and Canada trade treaties, which we believe will be of significant benefit to Irish SMEs in particular.

To read A Vision for 2021 – a Manifesto for the Future from the Irish Chamber Network sehere

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