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EU-Canada deal offers Irish export boost

Friday, April 11 10:31:59

Irish exports to Canada could double to an estimated E2.4bn per annum under a newly signed EU-Canada trade agreement, according to a seminar held by European Movement Ireland.

Paul Mahon, President and CEO of Great-West Lifeco - which acquired Irish Life last year and employs 3,000 people in Ireland - spoke of the benefits of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) involving the EU and Canada, which was signed in late 2013.

Mahon said: "It's estimated that CETA could raise bilateral trade by 23pc or E26bn. The benefits are estimated to be E11.6 billion for Europe and E8.2 billion for Canada. With almost half the benefits expected to be in services and Ireland having such a strong base in service related industry, there is a huge opportunity here for Ireland."

"Great-West Lifeco has seen first-hand the benefits of doing business in and from Ireland. With its skilled workforce and ability to serve as an English speaking hub for access to the rest of Europe, Ireland has an opportunity to capture a disproportionate amount of the benefits that will be generated by CETA."

Speaking at the seminar, held to mark EMI's 60th anniversary and supported by Irish Life, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar paid tribute to the organisation's work to encourage debate and engagement on European issues in Ireland.

"While today it is dealing with free trade issues, next week it will be working in primary and secondary schools helping to open the eyes of our next generation to European issues," the minister said. "Given the transatlantic flavour of today's event, I must draw attention to the fact that last year was the best ever year for visitors from North America and I expect further growth in that market this year."