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Business & Professional

Chamber event xplores opportunities across the Atlantic

Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019 4:01pm

An event aiming to explore export and investment potential in the tenth largest economy in the world was the focus of a recent Cork Chamber event.

Held in association with the Ireland Canada Business Association and Enterprise Europe Network, the event aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Launched in February under the Global Ireland Initiative, the Government's new strategy for the US and Canada up to 2025 will see Ireland aiming to double its impact in both jurisdictions through investment, political and economic engagement, cultural promotion and partnership with the diaspora.

Global Ireland: Ireland's Strategy for the US and Canada 2019–2025 is Ireland's first whole-of-Government strategy for the US and Canada, while this year marks 80 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Canada.

Between 2010 and 2016, trade in goods and services between the two nations rose from $4.06 billion to $6.6 billion. The EU’s free trade deal with Canada (CETA) was completed in 2017.

This deal effectively scrapped 99 per cent of tariffs on Irish export of goods between the Ireland and Canada and saw exports to Canada from Ireland increase by 30 per cent in the first year.

Katherine Fitzpatrick, International Relations Director at Cork Chamber noted: “Several companies have already chosen Cork for their strategic investments. Whitegate refinery in Cork is owned by Canada’s Irving Oil and other significant investments in Cork over the last five years include companies contributing today, including cyber security company eSentire and one of Canada’s largest software companies OpenText, as well as TELUS International, who bought a majority share in Cork’s thriving BPO (business process outsourcing) company Voxpro in 2017.”

Kate Hickey, Executive Director of the Irish Canada Business Association (ICBA) added: “Canada is an important market for Irish companies, with CETA trade liberalised between our two countries. We are seeing a significant amount of Canadian investment in Ireland and in the coming years and the ICBA expects to see increases across all sectors.”

The Canadian economy has approximately 6,000 people employed in Irish companies in Canada including contributors at the event - Leading Edge Group and Osborne Recruitment.

Companies successfully doing business in Canada see huge potential for further growth in the market especially thanks to the well-aligned and complementary business cultures.

Connectivity was highlighted as being a game-changer for many businesses: Ireland now has weekly direct flights from Dublin to Toronto, as well as seasonal services to Montreal and Vancouver, with seasonal flights to Calgary and Halifax coming onstream in 2019.

Other points in favour included the ease of setting up a business and tendering for public contracts in Canada.

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