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PRESS RELEASE: IRBA Welcomes Tánaiste Agreement On Trade

November 8, 2011

Trade between with Russia is a fraction of what is possible with this the  8th largest economy, hence new trade and economic cooperation agreement signed by Tánaiste is important for Irish exporters.

The Ireland Russia Business Association (IRBA), subsidiary of The Irish Exporters Association (IEA),  the national trade body representing and promoting the business interests of Ireland’s 4,000 exporters, welcomes the announcement today  that  the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, T.D. wrapped up his official visit to Russia today with the signing of an agreement on a programme for trade and economic cooperation between Ireland and Russia.

The IRBA understand that the keys areas that the trade and economic cooperation agreement will focus on are trade development in education, agriculture, transport, energy, and information technology, which is in line with the IRBA submission to Government ahead of the inter-government meeting on the 7th.

The IRBA advised that: trade between Ireland and Russia in the first seven months of 2011 accounted for only €70m in imports and €311m in exports. In terms of FDI to Ireland, IDA has only 2 client companies of Russian origin employing 27 people. These numbers  are a fraction of what should be possible  with world’s 8th largest economy that has the highest per capita income amongst all BRIC economies.

The IRBA, however, are  encouraged by  the signing of the Trade Development Agreement  which it and the IEA had been lobbying the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade to put in place as a first step to more rapid trade expansion with Russia.

We hope that in addition to re-launching the important work of the Joint Economic Council as a part of the Government-to-Government initiative, the new agreement will facilitate development of a working dialogue between the Irish Government Departments and the companies currently engaged in trade and investment with Russia. We also note that the lack of signficiant information exchanges and data flows between the two countries currently holds back trade and investment development. Irish exporters Association and IRBA have expressed their commitment to participating in the process of building bilateral data and information exchanges to assist Irish exporters and Russian investors interested in advancing bilateral trade and investment flows.

Despite the low exports sales volume  the IRBA noted that year on year, exports to Russia are up 53.5%, with imports though are now down 31.3% year on year. For seven months through July 2011, Irish trade balance with Russia was €241mln, up on €122mln for the same period in 2010.

Of all BRIC countries, Russia was the only country that delivered improved trade surplus for Ireland.

A full copy of the IRBA submission  to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign affairs and Trade can be had at this link.

Ireland Russia Business Association. 7th Nov 2011.

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