Government reinforces Brexit defences with new strategy

‘Ireland Connected’ plan sets ambitious targets for exports, FDI, tourism and education

Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World identifies exporting to new third country markets as a priority for Irish food and drink products. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World identifies exporting to new third country markets as a priority for Irish food and drink products. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

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The Government announced a new strategy on Wednesday aimed at making Ireland ready to face “one of the most dynamic and challenging external environments in many decades”.

The plan, Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World, builds on existing successes, the Government said, and sets ambitious targets for Ireland’s exports, foreign direct investment (FDI), tourism and international education. The strategy will include convening a senior level conference in Dublin in 2017.

The 60-page report sets out a number of “actions” state departments and agencies will take to achieve these goals, including providing intensified trade and investment supports for enterprise through the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. This will involve targeting 7,000 new jobs in 2017 through supporting new jobs and minimising losses in existing IDA supported companies, as well as working to win another 180 FDI projects in 2017.

Given the risks posed by Brexit and the prospect of tariffs for companies selling into the UK market, the report identifies exporting to new third country markets as a priority for Irish food and drink products, while maintaining access to existing markets.

In financial services, the Government set out its intention to implement the IFS2020 strategy, and convert investment opportunities in sectors including banking and insurance, arising out of global developments such as Brexit.

Small- and medium-sized businesses will benefit from the rollout of a finance initiative aimed at supporting the working capital needs of export-oriented SMEs.

Other actions include an in-depth analysis of the implications for Ireland’s most exposed sectors, models of the impact of the UK’s potential move away from the single market, and raising Ireland’s visibility in overseas markets.

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