14 firms seal trade deals as President's Australia trip proves major success
Irish businesses travelling to Australia with President Michael D Higgins have signed a string of deals.
Forklift supplier Combilift, healthcare technology company Oneview and foreign exchange specialist Fexco are among 14 companies to announce significant trade deals during the President's ongoing State visit.
Today, Mr Higgins and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald will arrive in Sydney to attend a business lunch as part of the Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade and investment programme - the biggest of its kind to the country.
Enterprise Ireland aims to double Irish exports to Australia by 2020 and this is the largest programme of trade activity it has undertaken in the region, with 55 clients flying to Australia to promote their products.
They operate in nine industries, including digital technology, building, engineering and consumer products.
The 14 firms who signed trade deals will work with partners including Qantas, Telstra, the University of Sydney, Bunnings, and Sydney Children's Hospital.
Enterprise Ireland said that, of the 55 companies participating, 27 were not yet exporting to the Australian market and 16 were heavily exposed to Brexit.
CEO Julia Sinnamon said Ireland's trade links with Australia were even more important in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
She said it was essential to ensure companies are "Brexit-proof".
"It's about making sure we continue to reduce our dependence on the UK," she added.
Last year, more than 300 Enterprise Ireland clients racked up exports of €256m to Australia. This marks an increase of 14pc from 2015.
The Asia-Pacific was the second-fastest-growing region for Enterprise Ireland-backed companies, up 16pc in 2016.
Ms Sinnamon said that "an open mind and an agility and understanding of working with cultures" had helped Ireland prosper overseas.
Ms Fitzgerald arrived in Canberra yesterday.
"Building awareness internationally of the Irish capability in key sectors is critically important, particularly in light of Brexit," she said.
Since June 2016, her department has intensified its efforts to increase export market penetration and "diversification of Irish companies into alternative markets", she added.
A spokesman for the President said he and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discussed business ties between the countries and the fact there are more than 130 Irish companies in Australia and 40 Australian companies operating in Ireland.