Irish trade with Canada is growing at a faster pace than the rest of the European Union, according to the North American country’s trade minister, Mary Ng.
The EU and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in 2016, cutting tariffs on goods traded between the pair.
According to Ms Ng, Canada’s minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, EU exports to her country grew 15 per cent in 2020. “But the good news is that Irish exports were 60 per cent higher,” she says.
Ms Ng, who recently addressed an Ireland Canada Business Association summit, believes there will be increased export opportunities for enterprises in both countries as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.
The minister argues that trade will be key to both Canada’s and the Republic’s recovery from the economic impact of restrictions designed to keep the virus in check.
Since the CETA agreement was completed, Irish exports to Canada have grown by up to 400 per cent in the case of meat, and 39 per cent for drinks and spirits, while sales of clothing and other goods have also increased.
Canada also imported €31 million in environmental and clean technology products from here, while its businesses sold €19 million worth of similar goods to Irish customers.
The trade deal has also helped pave the way for investment in the Republic. Greenfield Global, which Ms Ng says makes alcohol and solvents, whose importance will grow as the world bids to cut greenhouse gas emissions, chose the State for its European headquarters.
“They are locating their EU headquarters in Portlaoise, they are creating construction jobs there now,” she adds.
Greenfield announced its plan to establish a base in the Republic last year. Overall, direct investment by Canadian businesses here since trade deal was ratified come to more than €8 billion.
The minister points out that there are similarities between Canada and the Republic.
Both are open economies with strong technology and agri-food industries. Most businesses in both countries are small to medium-sized.
“There really are areas where Canada and Ireland can work together,” she says.
On the flip side, the Republic offers good export opportunities to Canada, which has strong manufacturing, energy and resources industries.