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Event Highlights: From Culture to Business

March 2, 2012

The 24th of February IRBA and Dublin City event attracted one hundred Irish businessmen, representatives of the Russian embassy and the press.

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Ivan Kush of ITAR-TASS news agency reported the following (translated and adapted by Vladimir Popov).

The Irish government is set to a positive dialogue with Russia in the economic sphere, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for enterprise, jobs and innovation, concluded at the event. “Irish-Russian relations are on the rise. In particular, the Irish services in high demand on the market. Many Irish companies have already achieved success in Russia in such areas as medicine, agriculture, construction, information technology, aviation”, said the Minister. He noted that the Irish-Russian relations have great potential. “One of the priority areas, in my opinion, is agriculture. Ireland is ready to deliver environmentally friendly products of excellent quality” he explained. “[Ireland] achieved certain results in the field of education: Irish institutions such as the Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College actively cooperate with Russian universities. I understand that many Russians do not even know of the existence of our country. In this regard, the Russian students who come here on exchange, become cultural ambassadors in the future and will develop our relations, particularly trade”.

The Minister spoke about the situation in the Irish economy, with emphasis on the immutability of government positions on trade, which in his opinion, “is the engine of the national economy”. “We attach great importance to developing trade relations with countries with rapidly growing economies, especially with the countries of BRICS”. “Ireland is one of the countries with the most favorable business environment, we have established system of taxation, highly skilled workforce. We hope that Russia’s small and medium-sized companies turn their attention to Ireland and will treat it as a base to promote their products and services in Europe “, said Richard Bruton. With regard to facilitating the visa regime, which, according to most participants, is the stumbling block of the Russian-Irish economic relations, the Minister noted that “the government is actively working with the UK in this direction”. He said that Ireland intends to extend for another four years the visa scheme for foreigners with valid UK visas, as well as to simplify the business visas, which gives investors the right, after living for five years in the country apply for Irish citizenship.

Also positively assessed the prospects for cooperation Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Federation in Ireland, Minister Counselor of the Embassy Sergei Petrovich, who reminded the audience that at the end of last year during the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore to Russia, the parties signed a declaration of partnership for modernization. “We have identified five priority areas of cooperation: agriculture, renewable energy and energy efficiency, transport, notably aviation, information and communications technology, as well as education and trade. The global financial crisis are negatively affecting all countries, and in this regard, we have to take joint actions that will help us not only to quickly restore the economy and reverse the effects of the crisis, but also to find new ways of economic growth”. The head of the diplomatic mission noted that trade between countries can be easily doubled for a few years, and urged Irish companies to participate more actively in Russian projects.

IRBA chairman, Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev drew attention to the remarkable growth of Irish exports to Russia. According to him last year it grew by 91.6 percent and reached 519 million euros. “Perhaps the figure is small, but the growth is undeniable that such turnover with the EU has decreased over the past year by 1.7 percent, and from Russia is growing steadily”. He particularly highlighted the fact that Ireland has a positive trade balance with Russia alone of all the countries of BRICS. “Russia, in spite of the continuing crisis, is the only country from the BRICS countries, where gradual increase in economic growth is expected. We should also look at the rate of per capita income, this advantage of the Russian market is clear. Russia for this indicator is far ahead of Brazil, China and India”. However, in terms of FDI from Russia Dr. Gurdgiev noted that Ireland was missing opportunities “with 80 billion euro of investments from Russia to the EU, none went to Ireland”.

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO of The National Space Center, and Robbie Byrne, director of Jimmy Software also shared their experience in Russia with the audience. Garry Forde of Enterprise Ireland highlighted EI’s support available to the businesses.

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Download speaker presentations (pdf):

Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, IRBA chairman

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO, National Space Centre

Garry Forde, Senior Market Advisor, Enterprise Ireland

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