The Government’s new Trade and Investment Strategy, entitled “Values for Ireland. Values for the World”, has been published today.
Seven priority actions have been set out to grow trade with other countries between 2022 and 2026.
The actions include enhancing Ireland’s “trade and investment ecosystem” and building on trade links around the world.
A “whole of Government Trade Mission Week” was also announced.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said this will be an annual event, adding that this has not been done since Enda Kenny led a mission to China when he was Taoiseach.
Launching the strategy today, Minister Varadkar said that the world was moving back towards protectionism but that Ireland would continue to make the case of democracy and free trade.
On Russian and Belarusian sanctions, the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment said that Ireland does relatively small trade with both countries, but the secondary effects are more severe.
The Tánaiste said although we have our problems, in a world of nearly 200 countries, Ireland is consistently ranked in the top 10 or 20 in terms of prosperity and high living standards.
“Unlike other countries, we do not rely on vast natural resources, such as oil, gas or diamonds for this wealth. Trade is the source of our economic growth,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Our attractiveness as a place to invest and our ability, as part of the EU, to enter and keep international free trade agreements with other countries is the entire basis of our economic model,” he said.
“It’s what has raised our living standards over the years,” he added.
The Tánaiste said that Covid, Brexit, international tax reforms, new technology, the need to take radical action to reduce emissions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have all caused huge disruption to trade over the past few years and have redefined future risks, challenges and opportunities of doing trade into the future.
“I’m particularly concerned with the implications these events will have for protectionism, with many using them as an excuse to put up barriers, which would be detrimental for Ireland and I believe quality of life globally,” he said.
“This new strategy is an opportunity for us to look at the changed global landscape and the implications it has for trade. Record levels of trade cannot be taken for granted. Maintaining and expanding global trade in a principled way will continue to be essential to Ireland’s economic wellbeing, living standards and sustainable development,” he added.
He also criticised opposition parties, claiming that they assume that jobs, the economy and wealth can be taken for granted, adding that they see their role as dividing the “cake”, rather than trying to “make the cake”.
Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy said that gGlobal events will continue to pose challenges to all of us, but if the country maintains its open, pro-trade outlook and continue to grow its global footprint it will be better placed to navigate those challenges.
“In the past decade Ireland’s trade in goods and services increased by 171% from €310 billion to over €840 billion and with this new strategy and the work of our enterprise agencies we want to see that grow further with particular focus and benefit for our regions,” Mr Troy added.