Thursday, October 18 14:24:00
Irish merchandise exports to Japan rose 13pc in the first half of 2012 following a major trade promotion by the government, according to the Irish Exporter Association's Asia Trade Forum.
Participants at a meeting of the forum were also told that Japan is now one of Ireland's most important Asian export markets with over E1.7bn of goods exported in 2011, and sales levels on track for that figure to exceed E2bn in 2012.
Hugh Kelly, chairman of the Asia Trade Forum said that after years of stagnation, our manufacturers have managed to make a significant breakthrough in growing sales to the Japanese market 13pc this year. "It's vital that government support for export initiatives to all Ireland's export markets is not cut in Budget 2013 as they are the life blood of job creation and economic recovery."
The IEA Asia Trade Forum today, held at Grant Thornton's office in Dublin, comes in advance of Enterprise Ireland's life sciences and food innovation trade mission leaving on 29th October, led by Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock.
Stephen Murray, Partner at Grant Thornton said: "The proposed trade mission provides an important vehicle for Irish companies to set out their stall in Japan and raise awareness of the quality of Irish products and our commitment to world class innovation and research investment."
A key focus of the mission will be growing Irish food exports to Japan, which are benefiting from increasing demand from Japanese consumers for 'functional foods'.
Kevin Sherry, Director of Enterprise Ireland International Sales and Partnering Division, added: "The functional foods sector is on track to becoming a E100bn global market by 2015. Irish Food companies need to continually innovate and create added value products especially with the planned abolition of milk quotas by 2015, this trade mission will encourage and facilitate partnerships between Irish and Japanese companies in functional foods and help them develop new products and grow exports from Ireland."