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Minister Neale Richmond leads Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission to Gulf Region

Irish innovation in high demand across the Gulf region with exports to Kuwait growing by 13% in 2022.

Seven Irish companies participate on the Trade Mission, with a focus on the region’s thriving aviation sector. 


Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD, will today commence an Enterprise Ireland led Trade Mission to the Gulf Region.

The three-day trade mission visiting Kuwait City, Riyadh and Jeddah, will focus on enhancing the existing trade links with the region and promoting Ireland as a world-class provider of goods and services across the Aviation, Digital Technology and Consumer sectors.

The Gulf region continues to attract many Irish companies, given the sheer scale of opportunity.  This Trade Mission signifies the importance of the region to Ireland, which has experienced a year-on-year increase in exports from Irish companies.

Marking the start of the trade mission, Minister Neale Richmond said: “The Gulf region offers huge opportunities for exporting Irish SMEs, with over €200m in exports to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia combined in 2022.  

Ireland’s particular strength in the global aviation sector is an impressive success story. With a large focus on the aviation sector throughout the Trade Mission, I’m looking forward to promoting Ireland’s capabilities as a global leader in the sector, with the aim of opening up further opportunities for Irish enterprise.
As a major growth market, Enterprise Ireland has had a presence in the GCC (Gulf Cooperative Council) region for over 20 years.

In 2022, Enterprise Ireland client exports to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increased by 8%. Irish companies exported €163.5m in goods and services to Saudi Arabia in 2022, making it Enterprise Ireland’s largest trading partner in the MENA region, along with €44.9m in exports to Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 provides significant opportunities for Irish firms looking to expand to these markets, particularly in key sectors such as Aviation, Life Sciences, FinTech, Education and Construction.

Highlights of the programme include:

  • During the Kuwait leg of the Trade Mission, the Minister will meet with Enterprise Ireland client company, Clevamamma who are celebrating a partnership with Mothercare (Alshaya Group) in the region since 2017 and ClevaMamas 20th anniversary.  
  • Meetings with the new national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, RiyadhAir and major airlines and operators in Kuwait.
  • Aviation roundtable sessions in Riyadh and Jeddah, with input from leaders owning the digital space, inflight entertainment, and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO).
  • ‘Doing Business in Saudi Arabia’ workshops with Enterprise Ireland client companies, including speakers from successful businesses across the Gulf Region.
  • Key meetings with the Civil Aviation Authorities in Riyadh and Jeddah.
  • Bi-lateral government meetings with Minister of Communications and Technology, H.E Abdullah Bin Amer Alswaha in Riyadh, Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia (MISA) and Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy and Acting Minister of Public Work, H.E. Dr. Jassem Mohammed Abdullah Al Ostad in Kuwait.

Speaking about the Trade Mission, Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager for Industrial and Life sciences, with Enterprise Ireland said: “As we continue to see strong growth in Irish company exports to the Gulf region in recent years, Enterprise Ireland’s focus is to support more companies to succeed in this market and to advance their scaling potential.”

“Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have large economic ambitions over the coming years. During this Trade Mission Enterprise Ireland, along with our client companies, aims to further showcase the very best of what Irish companies have to offer and to engage with business leaders across this region.”




Louise Cunningham

Communications and PR Enterprise Ireland

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