Minister Jan O’Sullivan Leads Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia and Qatar

The Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., is leading  a five-day Enterprise Ireland trade mission today (Saturday 15 October) to Saudi Arabia and Qatar involving 45 Irish companies to deepen trade and economic ties, build market presence  and create jobs.  The visit is being assisted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and by the Irish Embassies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

This mission forms part of Enterprise Ireland’s intensive programme of overseas events to help Irish companies secure increased share in fast growing export markets. Two missions have already been undertaken - to Australia and the southern United States - followed by a series of trade events during the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade’s visit to Japan and Korea.  A further mission to be led by Minister O’Sullivan will take place in South Africa in November.  

In Saudi Arabia Minister O’Sullivan will take part in political discussions, business and networking sessions in Jeddah and Riyadh to build on the significant progress already made by Irish companies in the region. In Qatar, the mission will visit Doha where Irish companies are seeking to build greater market presence and exploit growing export opportunities. 

The companies on the Saudi Arabia and Qatar mission are drawn from a range of sectors including telecoms and software, financial services, education, engineering and construction, healthcare and aviation.  Enterprise Ireland is working with them to strengthen their business links in the Gulf States, develop strategic partnerships and win new business contracts. 

Speaking in advance of her departure, Minister O’Sullivan stressed the importance of the trade mission for building Ireland’s export footprint and creating jobs:

“The Government is lending its support to Irish companies to target and win new business in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and to develop profitable and sustainable business relationships that will increase exports and create jobs’.   

Enterprise Ireland, Irish Embassy representatives in the region, and the thriving global Irish networks on the ground, are working together to increase awareness of Ireland as a source of world class knowledge and technology products and services.  I am confident that this trade mission will help to open doors for our exporters and cement the links that are critical to achieving market share for our companies.” 

Enterprise Ireland’s CEO Frank Ryan, who is accompanying Minister O’Sullivan on the trade mission, added: 

“This trade mission is about establishing long-term business partnerships and linkages in the drive to increase exports which both directly sustain and create jobs in Ireland.  It is a vital intervention for Irish companies that want to expand their market presence in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

“These are growing markets where a number of Irish companies with Enterprise Ireland assistance have already made their mark.  Their performance and reputations are strong.  They have impressed with their level of innovation, their quality of service and their determined focus on both anticipating and meeting their customers’ needs.  This trade mission is about building on that success, assisting more companies to explore and capitalise on specific identified opportunities in the Gulf and to showcase Irish companies’ world class capabilities.” 

15 October 2011

Note for Editors:

About Saudi Arabia and Qatar

Irish manufacturing/services exports to Saudi Arabia in 2010 totalled €734m.  Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the region for Irish SME exports, and Irish companies have a strong and growing presence in the market, which is already delivering significant success. In Qatar, major infrastructure and related projects associated with the world cup and other development initiatives offer significant business opportunities for Irish firms.  Irish manufacturing/services exports to Qatar in 2010 totalled €85m.

State capital expenditure in healthcare, education, utilities, civil construction, water and environmental sectors, the liberalisation of the telecoms, banking and insurance, and education markets and continuing opportunities in the oil and gas and construction sectors offer new business and partnership potential for Irish companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

About Enterprise Ireland and the trade mission

Enterprise Ireland is the Government agency responsible for the development and internationalisation of Irish enterprises. Its main aim is to boost exports and export-led jobs. Enterprise Ireland has 31 offices worldwide to help Irish firms develop overseas markets.  In the Gulf States there are offices in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.

The trade mission leaves Ireland on Saturday 15 October and returns on Friday 21 October.  Each year, Enterprise Ireland, with cooperation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Irish Embassies and Missions abroad, organises a series of targeted international trade missions, market visits, participation in international trade fairs and a large number of international buyer visits to Ireland focussed on assisting Irish firms to secure international contracts and overseas partners. Enterprise Ireland works with Irish firms to help them start up, develop their businesses, build competitiveness and innovate.

For further information contact:

Eileen Banks
Enterprise Ireland,
Press Officer

Eileen Banks
 01 7272805
087 2445814