Minister Flanagan leads Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission to the Middle East

12th November 2016

Saudi TM

37 Irish companies to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, will today, Saturday 12 November, arrive in the Gulf where he will lead a three-day (November 13-15) Trade Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

The Trade Mission, organised jointly with Enterprise Ireland, is part of ongoing efforts to raise Ireland’s profile internationally, to improve the already-strong bilateral trade and investment linkages with the Gulf region, and to provide a forum for Irish companies active in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to develop their relationships with customers, partners, and other stakeholders. The Trade Mission is also part of Enterprise Ireland’s broad drive to increase the export market penetration and diversification of Irish companies post Brexit. 

The mission will facilitate high-level business contacts for Irish suppliers spanning a number of key sectors, including International Education, Lifesciences, Digital Media, ICT and Telecommunications, Financial Services, Aviation, Agri-technology and Business Services. 

The 37 delegate-companies represent a wide regional spread, with participants based in Cork, Laois, Limerick, Roscommon, Kerry, Galway, Louth, and Dublin.

During the trade mission, Minister Flanagan will promote Ireland and its world-class companies during a series of high level business engagements with private and public organisations.  He will also undertake a series of engagements with representatives of the Irish business community in the region, including the Irish Business Network-Saudi Arabia, the Abu Dhabi Irish Business Council, and the Dubai Irish Business Network.

Speaking in advance of the visit, Minister Flanagan said: 

“I am delighted to be leading this highly ambitious Trade Mission, involving 37 companies who are forging successful partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the Unites Arab Emirates. This visit will strengthen our economic, political and cultural ties with these key priority markets. The Gulf is a strategically important region for us and there are significant opportunities for even more Irish companies to do business here into the future. 

“This Trade Mission will include a number of high-level meetings and will serve to strengthen Ireland’s economic, political and cultural ties with these key priority markets. I look forward to working with our partners in Enterprise Ireland to produce real results for the Irish economy. Significantly, this mission is also an opportunity to reassure our important trading partners of Ireland’s commitment to the EU, following the UK vote last July.”

Kevin Sherry, Executive Director Global Business Development at Enterprise Ireland, who will accompany Minister Flanagan on the trade mission, added: 

“A key focus for Enterprise Ireland is growing indigenous Irish companies on a global scale. Trade Missions, like this multi-sectoral one to the Middle East, play a vital role in promoting Ireland’s world-class goods and services in international markets and Enterprise Ireland works with Irish companies to expand their international reach and penetration into high growth markets. 

“This trade mission will facilitate practical relationship building for Enterprise Ireland client companies with both current and prospective new customers in the region, as well as raising the profile of Ireland at the highest levels of Government in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The objective of these missions is to deliver increased export sales to the region which support job creation in Ireland.” 

Irish companies with Enterprise Ireland assistance have to-date been hugely successful in growing their exports to the Middle East region and there are clear opportunities for continued strong growth in export business to the region.  Exports of Enterprise Ireland backed companies to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states increased by 12% in 2015 to over €507m with further strong gains projected this year. 

The three city Trade Mission incorporating Riyadh (13November), Abu Dhabi (14-15 November) and Dubai (15 November) involves a series of high level business meetings, targeted sector events, meetings with senior Government Ministers and one to one meetings between Irish businesses and a wide range of local businesses will also see the announcement of a number of new contract wins and business partnership agreements. 

A key objective of the Trade Mission is also to provide a strong platform to further promote Ireland and Irish companies as world class strategic partners across multiple sectors in the Middle East. These type of missions also demonstrate how Enterprise Ireland can act as a conduit to those world-class goods and services. 


For more information contact:

Conor O’Donovan

Head of Communications, Enterprise Ireland

Conor O'Donovan

+ 353 87 9671342

Paula Chase

Press Officer, Enterprise Ireland  

Paula Chase

+ 353 1 7272842