UK and Ireland Launch First Joint Trade Mission

8 February 2014 

Ireland and the UK will undertake their first ever joint trade mission on Monday (10th February) at the Singapore Airshow, as part of a programme of cooperation to strengthen relations over the next decade led by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and  Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

L-R: UK Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond; Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster and Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD

Pictured at the start of the joint mission in Singapore are, L-R: UK Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond; Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster and Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

The joint mission is being led by Ireland’s Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, UK Transport Minister Stephen Hammond and Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster with support from UK Trade & Investment, Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.

The Singapore Airshow is Asia’s largest airshow, and one of the most important in the world, given that the Asia Pacific region is the world’s biggest air travel market. For both Ireland and the UK the aerospace sector is a key part of their long term economic plan.

The UK remains Ireland's largest export destination with 16% of Ireland's total industrial exports in 2011. Ireland is the 5th largest recipient of UK industrial exports with almost 6% of the total in 2011.

Stephen Hammond said:

“The UK and Ireland both have open and globalised economies and we share a commitment to boosting growth as the cornerstone of economic recovery and job creation.

“The UK aerospace sector is a global success story. Half of the world’s commercial aircraft fly on wings made in the UK, and every 2.5 seconds an aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines takes off or lands somewhere in the world. This week’s trade mission will encourage greater collaboration and partnership between UK and Irish aerospace companies strengthening our offer to international buyers.” 

Richard Bruton said:

“This joint mission is an important part of a wider programme of cooperation between Ireland and the UK.

“The aerospace industry is one of Ireland’s most valuable and technically advanced industries. Today, Ireland is recognised as a leading location for aviation, MRO, technology, engineering and aviation finance.

“This first joint mission has attracted an impressive list of companies from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK that will demonstrate our considerable combined strengths in the aerospace sector at Asia’s largest air show.”

Arlene Foster said:

“I am delighted to be leading a group of Northern Ireland aerospace companies in this first visit to Singapore Air Show and welcome the opportunity to promote the world class capabilities of Northern Ireland aerospace, which is one of the premier aerospace regions in Europe. 

“In Northern Ireland, aerospace generates revenues in excess of £1 billion and employs over 8,000 highly qualified staff.

“There are approximately 50 companies active in the sector with core strengths in precision engineering; supplying critical components and services to all of the major aerospace programmes in the world. This contributes to ensuring the UK remains Europe’s number one aerospace manufacturer and second only to the US globally.”

Enterprise Ireland and UKTI's shared exhibition stand will be jointly branded and set up as a working lounge and business-to-business meeting space for use by delegates on the joint mission. 


Notes to editors

  • Following the transformative visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Ireland in 2011, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, agreed a Joint Statement in March 2012 that recognised the strength and importance of the relationship between Ireland and the UK. The Joint Statement introduced a programme of work across a range of policy areas designed to deepen the bilateral relationship between the UK and Ireland over the next decade.  The two governments are undertaking cooperation and collaboration across a range of areas, often for the first time. 
  • During his time in Singapore, Mr Hammond will attend an international aviation summit, where he will be meeting with counterparts from the region to continue discussions on an aviation agreement that would cut the cost of flying and improve connectivity between the EU and South East Asia. Mr Hammond will also seek to maintain UK’s status as a leading global maritime hub by strengthening ties with the Government of Singapore, who are expanding the world’s second largest port. During the visit Stephen Hammond will be welcoming the Clipper around the World yacht race into Singapore. He will also meet representatives from business and industry to discuss opportunities for transport which include rail, metro and bus operations.
  • In Ireland there are over 250 companies active in the aviation sector, contributing approximately €4.1 billion to GDP and supporting 54,000 jobs in Ireland. The Irish aviation sector comprises commercial airlines, air traffic and fleet management, manufacturing, international services, leasing, financial services and back office activities. It also embraces aircraft maintenance and overhaul centres specialising in airframes, aero engines, Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) landing gear, inventory and cabin interiors – all of which are supplied by a rich ecosystem of sub suppliers. The profile of these companies ranges from domestic small start-ups to very large multinational entities.
  • The UK aerospace sector is the biggest in Europe.  It has a 17% global share and is directly responsible for 100,000 jobs.  Supporting its future development is an important part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.
  • In Northern Ireland, aerospace generates revenues in excess of £1 billion annually and employs over 8,000 highly qualified staff. There are approximately 50 companies active in the sector with core strengths in precision engineering; supplying critical components and services to all of the major aerospace programmes in the world.
  • The UK has a wider presence at the Airshow; the UK trade body ADS is running a UK pavilion that has sold out.
  • UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the UK Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at           
  • Invest Northern Ireland works with individuals, companies and organisations in manufacturing and tradable services which show the ambition and commitment to grow by being more innovative, more entrepreneurial and more internationally focused. Invest NI’s resources are focused on assisting our clients to improve competitiveness, increase innovation, promote a stronger international focus and create more positive attitudes to enterprise. Invest NI’s full range of support and services are delivered through local offices in Belfast, Coleraine, Ballymena, Craigavon, Londonderry, Newry, Enniskillen and Omagh, and an international office network.
  • Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government agency charged with developing and promoting Irish enterprise. The mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to help them achieve strong positions in global markets, increase export sales and sustain and create jobs in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland works with ambitious Irish companies, helping them to focus on exports, innovation, competitiveness, management capability and entrepreneurship to succeed and grow. Key growth markets are particular targets for Enterprise Ireland. Ministerial-led trade missions and participation in international events are a central part of Enterprise Ireland’s drive to support Irish companies seeking to exploit new international business opportunities and grow export sales.  For more information visit