Call for Mexican companies to invest in Ireland

President Michael D Higgins says there is scope for further trade and investment between Ireland and Mexico

President Michael D Higgins pictured with President Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City yesterday, on the second day of the President’s 12 day official visit to Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Mr Higgins told his Mexican counterpart that the two countries “can further boost trade and investment” between them. Photograph: Chris Bellew /Copyright Fennell Photography 2013

President Michael D Higgins pictured with President Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City yesterday, on the second day of the President’s 12 day official visit to Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Mr Higgins told his Mexican counterpart that the two countries “can further boost trade and investment” between them. Photograph: Chris Bellew /Copyright Fennell Photography 2013

Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 15:13

President Michael D Higgins urged Mexican companies to consider reciprocating investments by Irish companies in Mexico and join US, European and Asian companies by investing in Ireland.

Speaking at a business breakfast in Mexico City, Mr Higgins said that Irish companies had taken “a foothold in this important and vibrant market of Mexico” but that they could do more.

“Significant opportunities remain for Irish businesses in Mexico. We also believe that there is unexplored potential in Ireland for Mexican businesses,” he said at the Enterprise Ireland-hosted event.

“I very much hope that more Irish and Mexican companies take up the reciprocal opportunities that exist to achieve mutual benefit for both countries.”

The President said that he had spoken to his counterpart, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, about how the two countries “can further boost trade and investment between Ireland and Mexico.”

Irish companies such as Glanbia, Kerry Group, Randox Laboratories and Irelandia Investments, the investment vehicle of the Ryan family, founders of low-cost airline Ryanair, have invested in Mexico, Ireland’s 19th largest trading partnership which represents more than € 1 billion worth of trade.

“Our trade in services with Mexico last year was less than 10 per cent of our merchandise trade. There is clearly scope for more of our exports, and our expertise, to engage with Mexican markets and business partners,” said Mr Higgins.

“We want to support Irish companies in further growing their partnerships in Mexico and to encourage more companies to explore the Mexican market.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin will host a seminar for Mexican businesses interested in exploring investment opportunities in Ireland.

Speaking in Spanish, the President said: “I am convinced that there are significant opportunities for increased engagement, for follow up and for the crafting of an ever more dynamic and creative relationship. I look forward to flourishing relations in the years ahead.”

About 20 Irish companies are accompanying the President on his Mexican trip, part of a 12-day visit to Latin America, that includes stops in El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Five Irish universities are also travelling with Mr Higgins to develop partnerships with Mexican third-level institutions in areas ranging from nanotechnology and sustainable water management, to business administration and electronic engineering.

“There is room for many more partnerships of this sort,” he said.

Mr Higgins told his audience of Irish and Mexican businesses that Ireland had gone through “a significant economic and social upheaval over the last few years.

“The global financial crisis of 2008 together with the collapse of our domestic banking sector, the fruit of both a credit lending and property boom, led our country into a long and painful recession,” he said.

The president said that the Government was working hard to “rebalance our national economy,” noting that export growth was “a key driver” of the economic recovery.

Irish exports to Mexico grew by 24 per cent in 2012 and “have continued to perform well above most of our other markets throughout 2013,” he said.

The business breakfast was attended by Mexico’s minister of the economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello.

Mr Guajardo Villareal said Mexico wanted to develop “a new and more intense relationship with Europe” and called for the North America Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico to be integrated with the transatlantic agreement that the US and the European Union are negotiating.

President Higgins will address the Mexican Business Summit, known as the Davos of Latin America, later today, delivering the keynote address of his four-day visit to Mexico.

He will be the first European head of state or government to speak at the flagship conference.