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Tánaiste to Promote Trade and Investment with Japan and South Korea
Special Contribution
By Eamonn McKee
Irish Ambassador to Seoul
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister. The Tánaiste is the deputy prime minister of Ireland. The current Tánaiste is Eamon Gilmore, TD who was appointed on March 9, 2011. Tánaiste was originally the Irish word for the heir of the chief (taoiseach) or king (rí), under the Gaelic system of tanistry.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., will start a visit to Japan and South Korea from Oct. 13, to Oct. 15, 2011.

The Tánaiste’s visit will strengthen bilateral political and economic relations, and promote Ireland as a business partner with these two key trading partners in Asia.

It takes place following the inaugural meeting of the Export Trade Council on Sept. 29, 2011 which will enhance cooperation and coordination across Government Departments and State Agencies involved in the promotion and development of trade and exports.

It also follows on from the second meeting of the Global Irish Economic Forum, organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is an invaluable resource assisting State Agencies and Irish companies to access key markets.

The Tánaiste will be in Japan from 12 to 13 October where he will discuss trade relations with the Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura and attend a series of business and trade-related events.

He will address senior management of 50 Japanese companies involved in the ICT industry and will meet the Ireland-Japan Chamber of Commerce.

He will also meet Keidandren, the representative organisation for the major Japanese corporations, to discuss opportunities for promoting trade.

The President of the Japanese Red Cross, Mr Tadateru Konoé, will brief the Tánaiste on the humanitarian situation following the Tohoku earthquake. The Tánaiste will be in Korea from 13 to 15 October.

He will deliver a keynote address to the Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum as well as meeting senior Irish business people and their clients.

He will meet leaders in the financial services sector in the Seoul Finance Forum. He will also have senior level meetings with the Minister of Unification in the Korean Cabinet, Mr Yu Woo-ik as well as the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Min Dong-seok.

The Tánaiste will meet members of the Irish community and will perform the official opening of the 2011 Asian Gaelic Games.

Speaking in advance of the visit, the Tánaiste said,“This is a timely opportunity to promote trade and investment with these partners in Asia, following as it does from the inauguration of the Export Trade Council and the Global Irish Economic Forum.

It is important that we build on the momentum created by these events to grow our business in these key markets. Ireland’s relationship with Asia was a key theme of the Forum with many representatives urging greater interaction between Ireland and the region in all areas.

My visit to Japan and Korea and the ongoing support for the “Farmleigh Fellowship” are just two concrete examples of the Government’s enhanced engagement with the region.

I am looking forward to meeting representatives of the State Agencies and their clients in Japan and Korea, as well as important business contacts, and to promoting the trade and investment which plays an important role in delivering the economic growth that Ireland’s economy needs at this critical time”.

Japan is Ireland’s 11th largest trade partner. Total trade between Ireland and Japan amounted to over €4.4 billion last year. Merchandise trade was valued at over €2.5 billion last, and trade in Services was €1.93 billion. This included the exports from over 150 of Enterprise Ireland’s clients. Japan is Ireland’s third largest market for pork in terms of value, and fourth largest in terms of volume. There is a long history of Japanese investment in Ireland with over 40 Japanese companies using Ireland to access the European Market. These companies operate mainly in the Pharmaceuticals, Medical Technologies, International Financial Services and ICT sectors. Opportunities for future growth include collaboration in emerging sectors within Cleantech and Information and Communications Technologies.

Korea was Ireland’s 24th largest merchandise trading partner in 2010 with total bilateral trade worth €601 million. Irish merchandise exports to Korea in 2010 were worth €357m while imports were valued at €244m. Total trade in services between Ireland and Korea, last year, was valued at €250m.

Korea has been identified as a priority Asian market for Ireland under our Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy Strategy to 2015. The Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum (APIBF) is a series of events focussed on building connections between and with the Business groups based in the Asia-Pacific and Gulf Regions.

The Forum, which has, to date, been held in association with the annual Asian Gaelic Games, brings together Irish business people, people doing business with Ireland and friends of Ireland in the dynamic Asia-Pacific and Gulf Regions.

Global Irish Economic Forum — Farmleigh Fellowship
The Farmleigh Fellowship is a graduate scheme established by a group of Irish-based business people in Singapore. It provides up to 25 Irish participants with the opportunity to work and study in Asia and Ireland over the course of a year.

It aims over time to develop a critical mass of 1000 highly skilled professionals with a profound understanding and first-hand experience of Asia who will spearhead a greater business, political and cultural engagement between Ireland and this region.

Press Office | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Dublin | ( Tel: (+ 353 1) 408 2275/2550 | ( Fax: (+353 1) 478 5942 | :

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