Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 16 November, 2004
Written Answers. - International Trade.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
193. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Ireland’s newest and most lucrative trading partners in respect of both imports and exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28607/04]
Mr. M. Ahern Mr. M. Ahern
Mr. M. Ahern: Ireland exports across the globe. The Government’s strategy is to create further market opportunities by assisting companies to deepen market penetration where they are established and to establish new markets where export opportunities exist. Through Enterprise Ireland, the Government supports the growth of Irish exports by working with individual companies in identifying new product and market opportunities and devising and implementing appropriate strategies to capitalise on them.
 New market opportunities are explored by the Enterprise Ireland overseas office network. It provides market intelligence for potential buyers and for the different economic sectors. That information is made available to Enterprise Ireland clients and incorporated, as appropriate, in their company development plans. In addition, the Enterprise Ireland annual business review comprehensively addresses the sales and export markets of clients, and specifically focuses on designated priority markets in the period under review.
Enterprise Ireland develops new market opportunities for clients by arranging meetings with significant international buyers, either through inward buyer missions or outward trade missions. In 2003, Enterprise Ireland arranged more than 9,000 sales meetings on behalf of Irish companies. New markets across the globe were accessed by 168 client companies of Enterprise Ireland. These included 110 first-time exporters. In addition, 159 Enterprise Ireland client companies established an overseas presence in 2003 to enhance their trading performances and prospects internationally.
To date, 15 overseas trade missions to countries in Europe, North America and South America, the Middle East and Asia have been lead by the Taoiseach, Ministers and Ministers of State, respectively. European and North American markets continue to dominate our export trade. The United States is now our largest export market, accounting for approximately 20% of total exports. The UK now accounts for approximately 17% of our exports. However, when taken together, the member countries of the European Union are primarily important to our exporters. They account for approximately 62% of exports to date this year.
Dáil Éireann 592 Written Answers. International Trade.