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Canadian Multinationals Ireland Expansion

Canadian Multinationals in Ireland plan to expand workforce, increase wages, and introduce hybrid work model

  • Ahead of Canada Day on July 1st, The Ireland Canada Business Association has released the results of its annual ICBA Member Sentiment Survey. Respondents to the 2021 survey employ almost 50,000 people across Ireland and Canada.
  • The majority plan to invest in their workforce this year through salary increases, wellbeing & upskilling initiatives, and hiring more staff. More flexible work models to be introduced.
  • Calls on government to introduce more supports to facilitate remote working, more affordable housing for staff, and to become more environmentally sustainable.

In this survey, ICBA members representing Canada’s leading enterprises have given their views on the following key issues:

  1. Why Canadian multinationals choose Ireland
  2. Obstacles to further expansion in Ireland
  3. Planned investment in their workforce in Ireland
  4. Covid & the future of work and the workplace
  5. ESG / Sustainability
  6. CETA trade deal

The ICBA, who counts among its membership Air Canada, Shopify, PressReader, Irish Life, TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Greenfield Global, Soti, and TELUS International, released the results of its membership survey to coincide with Canada Day, the country’s globally-celebrated national Birth Day (Thursday  July 1st).

  1. Why Canadian Multinationals choose Ireland:

Canadian multinationals are increasingly choosing Ireland as a base for their European operations, with the number doubling since Brexit was first passed. Indeed for the first time in the history of the survey, members cited ‘Access to the European Market’ as the number one reason they chose to establish in Ireland. The number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% since 2018 to over 15,000. The next most popular reasons include Ireland’s competitive tax regime, the availability of talent, and the close cultural connections enjoyed by both countries.

  1. Obstacles to further expansion:

However, further expansion of these companies in Ireland is being hampered by the intense competition for talent, followed closely by salary costs and Ireland’s high cost of living.

Ireland’s housing crisis is a key area of concern – over 85% of respondents do not believe the government is doing enough to support their staff in the current housing market, with the vast majority calling for further government interventions to boost housing supply and affordability in Ireland.

  1. Investment in the workforce

In a very positive show of support for their future plans in Ireland, 70% of respondents intend to increase their workforce this year and 67% plan to increase wages. Beyond salary increases, the key priorities are for investment are well-being (54%) and upskilling (35%).

  1. COVID-19 & The Future of Work

The vast majority (80%) of Canadian multinationals in Ireland believe the Irish government has adequately supported businesses through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just over a quarter of respondents plan to reduce office space as a result of COVID - 19 and when asked to describe how their staff will work post-pandemic:

  • 42% say staff will work 3 days in the office and 2 days remote.
  • 27% - 2 days in office, 3 days remote.
  • 8% - 4 days remote, 1 day in office.
  • 4% - 1 day remote, 4 days in office.
  • 4% - full return to 5 days in office.
  • 15% - are unsure of plans as yet.

None of the respondents plan to facilitate the permanent remote working of staff, however several identified how such a working model could and should be supported by government, suggesting that many would allow their staff work remote if the right supports were in place. Increased tax reliefs for remote workers and better broadband topped the list of suggestions. Others include:

  • Encourage (as per HR legislation) better "off line" behaviours by employers to ensure that contact with employees out of working hours is better managed.
  • Remote working considerations for employees working in other countries for Ireland office from a legal and tax perspective
  • A clear, transparent tax credit based on costs
  • Update the tax code so that PPR (principal private residence CGT relief) isn't diminished because home used for hybrid/remote working
  • The setting up of community remote working hubs in small towns and villages where a desk can be rented online for a few hours or ad hoc days so that social isolation for remote workers can be mitigated.
  1. ESG / Sustainability:

60% of respondents believe the Irish government should be doing more to help them become more environmentally sustainable. 70% of respondents plan to invest in ESG initiatives (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in 2021

  1. The CETA Trade deal

84% of respondents support the ratification of CETA - a major trade deal between Canada and the EU that will lift a number of barriers to trade between both economies. The Ireland Canada Business Association has been campaigning strongly for CETA’s ratification by government, as failure to do so will hamper Ireland’s post-Covid recovery and send the wrong signal to other investors about Ireland’s openness to doing business.

Last year alone, Ireland enjoyed a trade surplus of €1.7bn with Canada, with €2.1bn of Irish goods being exported to the country. There is no Irish businessperson who, if they were making €1.7 bn more than their partner as the result of a provisional agreement, would not formalize that agreement as quickly as possible.

Fifteen other Members States have already ratified CETA, leaving Ireland in the position of now playing catch-up with its EU counterparts.

Chris Collenette, Chair of the Ireland Canada Business Association:

“Our survey clearly shows how committed our members are to staying and investing in Ireland, despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic. These major multinationals want to continue to provide employment, increase wages and build economic and cultural bonds between our two nations. And with Brexit, the strong performance of the CETA trade agreement so far, and the opening of dedicated IDA and Enterprise Ireland offices in Canada, the opportunities for Ireland are immense.

But in order to continue to grow in Ireland, Canadian multinationals need a competitive business environment and their Irish workforces need greater support. Our members have identified lack of housing, cost of living, and competition for talent as major barriers to growth, and would also like to see more support from government in challenging areas like environmental sustainability and facilitating remote working among staff.

The Ireland Canada Business Association believes that, by addressing these key issues on a national level, Ireland can take advantage of the huge economic opportunities we have as a result of our unique position as the gateway to Europe.”

Chris Collenette is available for further comment and interview on 086 6021736

Further Info: Patrick Haughey, ICBA Media Relations 087 2394054

About the ICBA:

The ICBA is the voice of the Ireland Canada Business community. Our membership is  composed of chief executives and senior management of Canada’s leading enterprises who have located their European operations in Ireland. Since 1978 we have been connecting  executives and organizations in Canada and Ireland for the purpose of  bilateral investment, trade and entrepreneurship. As a membership organization, our members make our mission possible. They span over 20 business sectors and directly and indirectly support more than 20,000 jobs across the country and hundreds of small businesses. Our partnerships with the Canadian Embassy and the Ireland Canada Chambers informs our work

ICBA Newsletter – December 2020

A Welcome Message from ICBA Chairperson, Chris Collenette

 


Minister Eamon Ryan publicly backs CETA Trade Deal

Eamon Ryan backs CETA

On Dec 15th Eamon Ryan, Environment Minister and Leader of the Green Party, publicly gave his full support to the CETA trade deal and committed to trying to convince all Green party members to also give it their backing.

The Minister has not always been a supporter of the deal, and he outlined three specific developments that led him to change his mind. Those three changes, along with the ICBA's reaction to his comments, are outlined here.


Eamonn McKee becomes Irish Ambassador to Canada

Ambassador Eamonn McKee

Eamonn McKee has become Ireland’s new Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and The Bahamas, replacing former Ambassador, Jim Kelly. He previously held ambassadorial positions in Seoul and Israel and has spent the last 5 years as Director General of the Trade division at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador McKee is also an avid reader of history and indeed loves writing about the subject too, which gives him a very interesting perspective on some of the biggest challenges that the world is facing right now.

Ambassador McKee recently joined us as special guest on the The Ireland Canada Connection podcast series.

He spoke about:

·       His priorities for his new role of Ambassador to Canada
·       The importance of national brands and how to grow them
·       Why Ireland thrives in a free-trade global environment
·       How business is all about relationships and personal connections, and why this makes organisations like the Ireland Canada Business Association so important
·       The new wave of Irish emigrants making Canada their home
·       How an understanding of the past can help us make better decision in the present


 

Goldy Hyder on The Ireland Canada Connection podcast series

Goldy Hyder on the power of businesses and governments working together to deliver for citizens.

Our guest on the latest episode of The Ireland Canada Connection podcast series is Goldy Hyder of the Business Council of Canada. (LISTEN HERE)

The Council represents the chief executives and heads of 150 leading Canadian businesses, employing 1.7 million Canadians and composed of every major industry across the country.

Goldy Hyder, it's President and CEO, has a fascinating track record in business, public policy, and in the not for profit sector. He has such informed and passionate opinions about effective leadership, business strategy and global trade. In this interview Mr Hyder and Patrick Haughey talk about:

•     His ties to Ireland, his trip to Dublin in 2019, and why the keynote speech he gave then is as relevant today as it was then
•     Driving the competitiveness of Canadian businesses
•     Why trade is the solution to an impending global recession
•     How Eastern countries have managed Covid-19 more effectively than those in the West
•     His hope for what the new US Presidency might achieve for global trade and relations
•     Why CETA has been a boost for businesses and why Ireland must ratify the agreement
•     The leadership mindset and policy-making in times of crisis


ICBA pre-budget submission calls for action on Trade, Sustainability, Connectivity, and Sustainability

Ireland and Canada enjoy an incredibly strong economic, political, and historical relationship. The number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% since 2018 to over 15,000.  The number of new Canadian companies expanding into Ireland has more than doubled since Brexit was passed and now stands at 75 operational companies. For the past three years, Ireland has enjoyed a trading surplus with Canada of over €1.2 billion with over 6000 Irish companies exporting to Canada. The ICBA is uniquely placed to point to the supports and initiatives required to underpin this successful relationship and ensure that it continues to grow and thrive.

In this context, the ICBA pre-budget Submission: Budget 2021 comprised four key pillars (Trade, Sustainability, Connectivity, and Housing) and centered around supporting Ireland’s post-Covid recovery and future growth. Visit the ICBA website to read the submission. 


The Ireland Canada Connection Podcast - Listen & Subscribe!

ICBA in the News

Letter to the Editor signed by ICBA Members

Thanks to all of the ICBA members who signed their name to the ICBA Letter to the Editor published recently in the Irish Times. The letter stressed the urgency of the ratification of CETA by the Irish government, particularly at a time when trade is being diminished as a result of Brexit and Covid-19. The letter has been extremely well-received and can be read in full by clicking the below image or HERE.

Irish Times Letter to the Editor ICBA Members


Minister Eamon Ryan CETA Remarks

Coverage of ICBA's most recent press release welcoming Minister Eamon Ryan's comments supporting CETA.

Eamon Ryan CETA

 


What's Happening in Canada?

Vaccine rollout

Canada begins a rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week, just days after becoming one of the first countries to approve the treatment. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously said the country will receive 249,000 initial doses of the vaccine this month.

Canada pre-ordered 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine when it was still in development, with an option for 56 million additional doses. The vaccine - which proved to be 95% effective in late-stage clinical trials - is administered in two doses, 21 days apart. Speaking to national broadcaster CBC, Dany Fortin - who is in charge of the vaccine distribution - said "the delivery schedule is unfolding exactly as planned."

Uptick in survival skills training during pandemic in Canada

While some of us took up new hobbies like growing veg or learning a language during lockdown, others went a bit further and learned how to live off the grid and survival in the wild.

Chuck Wrathall, a survivalist and photographer from Cape Breton, has seen membership of his group go from 300 pre-pandemic to over 1500 today.

"Bushcraft has exploded. People love the wilderness skills. They want to know how to survive, how to forage, how to go out and hunt and gather," he said. "Plus they want to know how to be self-reliant so that could mean off the grid or being self-sufficient, having solar or having water collection."

His group isn't the only one to see an increase in its members lately. Facebook groups like Canadian Prepper, Canada Emergency Preppers, and Preppers & Survivalists of Canada have also seen an uptick since the start of the pandemic.

RIP Ron Irwin

Ron Irwin was Canadian Ambassador to Ireland 1998-2001. In 1975, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He died on December 5, 2020 at the age of 84.

Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement that Mr Irwin “will be remembered as a visionary leader. Mr. Irwin was invested into the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal, and received the Sault Ste. Marie's Medal of Merit for his exceptional public service career spanning over 35 years.”

(Credit: Suzanne Drisdelle of the Canadian Embassy for contributing to these stories)


What's Happening in Ireland?

Ireland launches Covid 19 vaccine programme

The Irish government this week announced details of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme. Under the plan, up to 14 million doses of the vaccine could be purchased and it will be available to people free of charge.

First to get it are adults over the age of 65 who are residents of long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact roles, including vaccinators. Those aged 70 and older will be next, starting with over 85s IBM and software giant Salesforce have been tasked with creating a new IT system to manage the entire programme.

Irish economy to bounce back strongly

Ireland’s economy will be among the best-performing in the western world this year with GDP growth of 0.8 per cent, before accelerating to export-driven growth of 5.3 per cent in 2021. That’s according to Ibec, the association representing over 70% of employers in Ireland.

In its latest quarterly report Ibec predicts that the economy will “recover lost momentum rapidly” over the next year or two as coronavirus vaccines are quickly rolled out and an expected last-minute trade deal with the UK reduces the negative impact of Brexit. Ireland’s strength in key high-performing exports sectors such as pharmaceuticals and IT services will play a central role in this rapid recovery.


Mary McAleese delivers lecture to mark launch of ICUF's D'Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship Programme

Mary McAleese Lecture - WATCH VIDEO

Professor Mary McAleese, President of Ireland (1997-2011), Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, delivered this captivating and inspiring lecture to staff, students and friends of the University of St. Michael's's College, University of Toronto, on October 29th 2020.

This lecture marked the launch of ICUF’s D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship Program, a scholarship program which supports the development of connections between Canada and Ireland through online engagement.


'The Role of the Irish in the making of Canada' - watch the ICUF Inaugural D'Arcy McGee Beacon Lecture by the Hon. M. Jean Charest, delivered in November. A fascinating lecture about such an interesting and important time in Canadian and Irish history.

Hon. M. Jean Charest Lecture - WATCH VIDEO

 


ICBA Member News

ICBA Member News: Shareholders at Montreal-based tour operator Air Transat have approved a purchase offer from ICBA member Air Canada. The deal is expected to in early 2021.

Air Transat

ICBA Member News: Shareholders of Dublin and Toronto-based company IPL Plastics have approved the purchase of the company by Intelligent Packaging Limited

IPL Plastics

ICBA Member News:  Canadian company OpenText is currently hiring for 30 people in Co Cork. The software company is looking for new staff across DevOps, database administration, site reliability, senior technical support and more.

Open Text

 


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank address to the ICBA (remote)  - 28th January at 2.30pm GMT
To register please email events@irelandcanada.com 


Thank you, and stay safe.

Eamon Ryan Supports CETA Trade Deal

Minister Eamon Ryan’s support for CETA trade deal welcomed by Canadian multinational companies in Ireland

The Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) welcomes Minister Eamon Ryan’s comments earlier today about CETA – the hugely important trade deal between Europe and Canada – in which he gave the deal his full support and committed to convincing all Green party members to also give it their backing.

Following the postponement of a Dail vote on the issue until January, the Green Party Leader and Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications said that specific changes have been made to CETA in the last three years which address many of the concerns he originally had. Those changes are:

  1. The finding by the European Court of Justice that CETA must to adhere to EU law in relation to environmental and social justice issues. In short, public interest law will always come first.
  2. The introduction of further provisions in the deal compelling it to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement, thus giving additional protection to environmental matters.
  3. The agreement between Canada and the EU to move towards a multilateral investment courts system, which aims to eliminate the risk of abuse around investment-related disputes and safeguarding the EU’s right to regulate in the public interest.

The ICBA, representing Canadian multinationals in Ireland including Air Canada, Shopify, Irving Oil, Canada Life (Irish Life), TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotia Bank, Vermillion Energy, PressReader, Greenfield Global, and IMAX, believes that the Irish government must ratify CETA as a matter of urgency. We believe that failure to sign the agreement could hamper Ireland’s post-COVID-19 recovery and further expose the country’s economy to the impact of Brexit.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) removes 98% of customer duties, ends restrictions on open access to public procurement contracts, opens the services market, and delivers many other benefits for Canadian companies doing business in Europe and Canadian companies doing business in Canada. 14 other Member States have already ratified the deal, with Ireland now playing catch-up.

The value of Ireland’s trade surplus to Canada has been over €1.40 billion in recent years. The number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% since 2018 to over 15,000 and the number of new Canadian companies expanding into Ireland has more than doubled since Brexit was passed.

The ICBA believes that such a successful and valuable relationship must be nurtured and supported, and the association is calling on the government to ‘get it over the line’ and pass CETA through Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann as soon as possible.

Chris Collenette, Chair of the ICBA:

“We are delighted to see Minister Eamon Ryan give such comprehensive support to the CETA trade deal, and also outline the very specific changes that have been made to the deal in recent years that have allayed his initial concerns about it.
CETA has already fueled a more than 30% rise in the value of goods trade between Ireland and Canada. However, Ireland, which, post-Brexit, will be the only English speaking jurisdiction in the EU, is now behind Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden to formally ratify the deal with Canada, predominantly an English speaking country.

Just prior to COVID-19 hitting the country, we commissioned a survey of our members, including some of the largest Canadian, and Canadian-owned companies in Ireland. 70% of respondents had planned to hire more staff and 62% are set to increase wages. While that was pre-COVID-19, it shows the investment sentiment is solid. Ireland is pushing an open door when it comes to attracting Canadian companies.

With a new Irish consulate in Vancouver, a new IDA office in Toronto, and a new Enterprise Ireland office in Montreal ((in addition to the existing one in Toronto), the last government made significant progress developing this valuable relationship. Ratifying CETA through the Dáil is really the last piece of the Canadian-Ireland puzzle and we are calling on the government to do the right thing and ratify this deal as a priority”.

ICBA PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION 2021

Ireland Canada Business Association

CONTEXT

The Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) represents some of the largest Canadian companies in Ireland including Air Canada, Shopify, Irving Oil, Canada Life (Irish Life), TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotia Bank, Vermillion Energy, PressReader, Greenfield Global, IMAX, Optel Group, and SOTI.

Ireland and Canada enjoy an incredibly strong economic, political, and historical relationship. The number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% since 2018 to over 15,000. The number of new Canadian companies expanding into Ireland has more than doubled since Brexit was passed and now stands at 75 operational companies. For the past three years, Ireland has enjoyed a trading surplus with Canada of over €1.2 billion with over 6000 Irish companies exporting to Canada. The ICBA is uniquely placed to point to the supports and initiatives required to underpin this successful relationship and ensure that it continues to grow and thrive.

In this context, the ICBA pre-budget Submission: Budget 2021 comprises four key pillars (Trade, Sustainability, Connectivity, and Housing) and is centered around supporting Ireland’s post-Covid recovery and future growth.

BUDGET 2021 SUBMISSION

1. CETA

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. It removes 98% of customer duties, ends restrictions on open access to public procurement contracts, opens the services market, and delivers many other benefits for Canadian companies doing business in Europe and Irish companies doing business in Canada.

CETA entered into force provisionally on 21 September 2017, meaning most of the agreement now applies. However, national parliaments in EU countries need to approve CETA before it can take full effect. 14 EU Member States have already ratified the deal, but Ireland has yet to do so. The ICBA believes that the ongoing delay to fully ratify CETA is short sighted and can only have negative economic consequences for Ireland.

Canada is a highly important trading partner for Ireland. In recent years, Ireland has enjoyed a trade surplus of as much as €1.2 billion with Canada, with over €2 billion in exports from Irish companies being sent to Canada. CETA has already fuelled more than 30% rise in the value of goods traded between Ireland and Canada.

Moreover, a recent survey of ICBA members, including some of the largest Canadian, and Canadian-owned companies in Ireland revealed that 70% of respondents plan to hire more staff and 62% are set to increase wages. While that was pre-Covid-19, it shows the investment sentiment is solid.

Failure to ratify CETA is an avoidable threat to the valuable Ireland-Canada relationship and may hamper Ireland’s post-Covid-19 recovery and further expose the country’s economy to the impact of Brexit. As part of Ireland’s budgetary strategy for 2021, the ICBA is calling on the new government to ‘get CETA over the line’ and pass it through Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann as soon as possible.

2. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Almost 60% of ICBA members surveyed believe policy makers are not doing enough to support businesses in becoming more environmentally sustainable. Sustainability is a key pillar in the strategies of Ireland’s largest employers and one that customers, clients, and employees increasing want to see prioritised urgently.

The Irish Government has made significant commitments in the National Development Plan (in the form of capital expenditure) and in key policy statements around green energy, all of which give due credit and importance to sustainability. Budget 2021 must prioritise the delivery of these commitments, particularly with the Green Party now in government. Ireland needs to be known for delivery expertise in this area.

Canada has shown leadership in the creation of strategies and funding programs at a national and provincial level, as well as the provision of grass roots funding for projects in municipalities.

For example:

• The Canadian Supercluster initiative is $950 million funding program announced in 2017 to support five business-led innovation clusters to drive economic growth, includes initiatives supporting environmental sustainability.

• The Digital Technology Supercluster includes projects focused on environmental sustainability (Protecting Our Oceans and Satellite-Based Environmental Analytics are two projects that deploy state-of-the-art digital solutions to address two challenges created by climate change: the collection of accurate imaging to monitor the effects of climate change, and protecting our wild fisheries by monitoring our oceans.

• The Ocean Supercluster includes a focus on initiatives that support resilience and sustainability of Canada’s ocean economy.

Creative and comprehensive funding programmes such as these lead to innovative thinking and action around reducing waste, conserving energy, constructing green buildings, creating alternatives to driving, fostering green leadership, and much more. Domestic and multinational companies and their employees, in the main, want to accelerate their ability to operate successfully but in a sustainable manner. We call on government to use Budget 2021 as an opportunity to support them in this goal.

3. CONNECTIVITY

Since 2018 the number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% to over 15,000 and the number of new Canadian companies expanding into Ireland has more than doubled since Brexit was passed. Today, Irish companies employ over 6,000 people across Canada and over 600 Irish companies export to Canada. Canada is Ireland’s 12th largest trading partner and the 4th largest outside of the EU.

Key to the growth of the economic relationship between our two countries has been the growth in direct air connectivity between Ireland and Canada over recent years. Since 2018 seasonal summer services from Shannon-Toronto and Dublin-Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto have been operational on 3 Canadian carriers in addition to year-round service from Dublin-Toronto on one Irish and one Canadian carrier. From a business perspective year-round connectivity is vital.

As a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic there is currently only one Canadian based carrier (Air Canada) offering a much-reduced service on the Dublin-Toronto route. It must be noted that air connectivity is not only vital in a business context for the transport of corporate travellers, but also for the transportation of air cargo, much of which is concentrated in high value medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, electronic, engineering components and perishable items such as high value seafood. From an airline cost-perspective the most stable routes are able to provide a good balance between cargo and passengers and many cargo shipping agents rely on a stable scheduled service to provide certainty of the carriage of time sensitive goods.

In this context, we are calling on Government to continue to support the delivery of key strategic infrastructure at Dublin Airport in Budget 2021, specifically the construction of North Runway at Dublin Airport. As we know from our experience of the last downturn (during which Terminal 2 was opened), having the infrastructure in place to facilitate a return to growth is very important. DAA is proceeding fully with the North Runway and will also be making a planning application later in the year for other airport capacity projects such as parking stands.

Covid has had a significant impact on the aviation sector and consequently on the finances of organisations such as DAA who are tasked with developing the infrastructure to grow Irelands’ connectivity. A recent report from the Taskforce for Aviation Recovery set up by the Government recommended that:

"Government should enable a liquidity initiative for the aviation sector….It should include offerings similar to those made available by other European Governments such as guarantees, credit lines and underpins for interest rates, in line with pre-Covid levels…. a Pandemic Recovery Initiative should help address sustainable developments in operations and physical infrastructure".

This report is currently being considered by Cabinet and we call on Government to introduce the supports necessary to keep Ireland’s connectivity at the heart of the country’s recovery and future growth strategies.

Regional air links between Ireland and Canada must also be supported to return to airports such as Shannon and investigations conducted into the viability of a Cork air route as companies are increasingly looking to locate outside of the Dublin region and in particular the Mid-West and Southern regions. The availability of more cost-effective, modern and smaller aircraft over the past 2-3 years makes regional transatlantic services more viable and would also have the added advantage of encouraging inbound Canadian tourism outside of the Dublin region.

4. HOUSING

The ICBA regularly surveys members and, consistently, these multinational companies point to the cost of housing and rent as major barriers to their further expansion in Ireland. While remote work is a real trend and will have some positive impacts for repopulation of rural Ireland in particular, we believe that supply of sustainable long-term housing development is a critical necessity for Dublin and Ireland alike.

Adequate and affordable housing is key to the FDI model. Availability of talent, employee retention and welfare are key criteria stipulated by multinationals when starting and evolving operations in Ireland. In this context, the ICBA would like to see Budget 2021 prioritise the incentivising of the construction of housing (including urban regeneration) in new and innovative ways. Ireland needs to explore new models of housing delivery, investment, and ownership.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CETA

CETA will benefit people across Ireland by:
• Scrapping customs tariffs for Irish exporters and importers
• Creating new opportunities for Irish farmers and agri-food producers
• Opening up the Canadian services market to Irish firms
• Enabling Irish firms to bid for more public contracts in Canada
• Making it easier for Irish professionals to work in Canada
• Encouraging more investment between Ireland and Canada
• Helping Ireland's small businesses export more to Canada

Under CETA, tariffs have been eliminated on virtually all of Ireland’s exports to Canada. These include Ireland’s main exports to Canada:

• Chemicals and Plastics – Irish exports to Canada of €633 million in 2019 (with many pre-CETA Canadian MFN tariffs as much as 6.5% compared to CETA duty-free preferential access.

• Information and communication technology (ICT) products and consumer electronics – Irish exports to Canada of €18 million in 2019 (with some pre-CETA Canadian MFN tariffs from 5% to 14% compared to CETA duty-free preferential access.

In the Agriculture and Agri-food sector, Irish exports to Canada totalled €122 million ($181 million) in 2019. Irish exporters now benefit from tariff elimination on key products such as:

• Liqueur and Cordials – Irish exports to Canada of €65 million (with some items facing pre-CETA Canadian MFN tariffs of 12.28¢/litre of absolute ethyl alcohol) and

• Food preparations for infants – Irish exports to Canada of €6 million (mostly with heavy pre-CETA Canadian MFN tariffs).

Ireland also benefits from increased access to the Canadian cheese market. Now that CETA is provisionally applied, two new annual import quotas, or TRQs, for EU cheese are in place: 2,667 tonnes for non-industrial cheese and 283 tonnes for industrial cheese. Over the subsequent five years these volumes will grow to permanent TRQs of 16,000 tonnes and 1,700 tonnes, respectively.

Government Procurement

Beyond tariffs, Canada’s government procurement market, with an estimated value of up to $163 billion (€119 billion) annually, will be of interest to Irish companies, particularly opportunities at the sub-federal level. Canada’s government procurement commitments in CETA are the most ambitious the EU has ever received from any negotiating partner.

Ireland exported €455 million ($676 million) in pharmaceutical products to Canada in 2019.

As a globally significant producer and exporter of pharmaceutical products, Ireland benefits from CETA’s commitments in this area including: a new period of protection of up to two years for patented pharmaceuticals, a commitment to ensure that all litigants are afforded an effective right of appeal under Canada’s patent linkage regime, and a commitment reflecting Canada’s internationally competitive practice of offering eight years of data protection.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
• Chris Collenette, Chair, Ireland Canada Business Association 086 6021736
• Patrick Haughey, ICBA Media Relations 087 2394054

ICBA Newsletter – September 2020

A Message from Kate Hickey, Executive Director, ICBA

Dear Friend of the ICBA,

We have heard the word community used often during these past months. The ICBA is a community of people working in Irish and Canadian businesses navigating an uncertain landscape with optimism and fortitude.

Communication lies at the heart of any successful community and, in the absence of physical events, we have introduced new ways of bringing you information, insights and stories. Our new webinar series resumes on 17th September and we have launched a new podcast series called The Ireland Canada Connection (more on that below). Our updated fact sheet contains the most recent numbers and statistics that reveal the ever-growing strength of the Ireland Canada Relationship.

At a political level we welcome the priority given by the New Government to international trade. In the Dail on 22nd July, An Tánaiste stated “Bilaterally, business links between Ireland and Canada are deep and extensive - outside of Europe, the US and China, Canada is our largest indigenous export market.” To this end we have asked the new Government to prioritise the ratification of CETA (read on for more detail on this campaign)

As we settle into Autumn, we adjust to working in a different way. The ICBA strives to be a valuable resource and to support our members in this altered business landscape. The experience of each member is unique. If as an organisation we can assist and support you in any way, please get in touch.

Wishing you health and wellness,

Yours sincerely ,
Kate Hickey
Executive Director

Kate Hickey, ICBA


ICBA in the News

Trade with Canada is key to Ireland's post COVID19 recovery and mitigation against the impact of Brexit, therefore the ICBA is calling on the new government to ratify CETA as a priority.

Read more about our latest campaign and listen to ICBA Chair Chris Collenette on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show below.

Chris Collenette, ICBA Chair, joins Pat Kenny on Newstalk to put forward the case for the new government ratifying CETA as a priority.


Launch of the Ireland Canada Connection Podcast Series

Ireland Canada Connection Podcast Series

Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most effective ways for companies and organisations to communicate with customers, clients, and stakeholders. The message is delivered by the human voice, across platforms people are familiar with such as Spotify and Apple iTunes, and in a way that reaches busy people on the move.

In this context the ICBA has launched The Ireland Canada Connection podcast series, featuring interviews with leaders in business, culture and public affairs from across Ireland and Canada. Hosted by Patrick Haughey of AudioBrand, the series gets to the heart of what makes the great Ireland/Canada relationship tick, and features insights and advice about how to succeed in business in both nations.

CLICK HERE to listen and also to support the series by subscribing or following, and leaving a rating or review.


Greenfield Global

We congratulate ICBA Patron Member Greenfield Global on the opening of their 3,800 sq foot manufacturing facility in Port Laoise.  Greenfield is Canada’s largest producer of alcohol and fuel ethanol and will employ 75 people in it’s Port Laoise facility.


Thanks and Best Wishes to Ambassador Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

We wish the very best to Ambassador Jim Kelly as he commences as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Security Council in New York.  Ambassador Kelly’s vision and championing of the Ireland Canada relationship created alliances on so many levels -education, political, business, culture and tourism.  For that the ICBA is indebted. We know that the Ireland Canada relationship will continue to flourish with the incoming Ambassador designate Eamonn McKee at the helm.

Ambassador Jim Kelly in conversation with Dan O'Donnell of the ICBA. In this short clip, Ambassador Kelly outlines how CETA has been a major boost for Irish companies accessing the Canadian market, particularly smaller ones that would have been unable to do so prior to the agreement.


Chrystia Freeland

Congratulations to Chrystia Freeland who has been appointed as Canada's first ever female Finance Minister.


Kevin Vickers, First Guest on the Ireland Canada Connection Podcast Series

Kevin Vickers

Former Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, was our very first guest on The Ireland Canada Connection - the ICBA's brand new podcast series. Always a great friend to the ICBA and supporter of the Association’s work, Kevin left his post in Ireland in 2019 to become leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick in Canada.

In this interview Kevin talks about his time as Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, why he believes connectivity and relationship building are key to economic success, the great opportunities in cyber security and the green economy, and his decision to enter the political arena in New Brunswick.

We also explored more personal topics, such as his Irish roots, his time in the Canadian Mounties, and his road to recovery after he stopped a terrorist attack at the Canadian parliament building in 2014.  LISTEN HERE


What's Happening in Canada?

Shopify - Canadian company Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform designed for small and medium businesses to manage sales online, has recorded record growth in Q2 2020, making it the most valuable pubic company in Canada. The company first established operations in Ireland in 2015 initially hiring 50 people and since then, has expanded to employ over 400 people here, all working remotely. During the pandemic, Shopify has enabled many companies to move to selling online. They are also working with the Government of Canada on the Go Digital initiative to support small businesses to adapt their business. (WATCH: John Riordan of Shopify in conversation with Chris Collenette, ICBA Chair)

Public Service Pride Week in Canada - The week of August 24th was Public Service Pride Week in Canada, which is a week-long initiative for public service employees to come together with LGBTQ2+ communities and colleagues to celebrate diversity from a place of inclusion, empathy and love. Prime Minister Trudeau’s message on Public Service Pride Week can be viewed here. The Irish Embassy in Canada also joined in the celebrations, hosting a virtual talk with the Australian Embassy to discuss paths to marriage equality in Ireland, Canada and Australia.

COVID-19 initiatives in Canada The Canadian Government announced an investment of more than $3 million for Nova Scotia-based IMV Inc. to advance clinical development of its vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. This support is being provided with contributions from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program and the Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Supercluster.

The federal and Ontario governments are each kicking in $23.3 million to help increase production capacity of 3M’s medical-grade N95 masks in Canada. Quebec-based Medicom also produces N95 and surgical masks for frontline Canadian healthcare professionals.
(Credit:  Suzanne Drisdelle of the Canadian Embassy for contributing these stories)


What's Happening in Ireland?

Ireland’s new government - 140 days after people headed to the polls for the General Election in February, a new Government of Ireland was formed in June last.  Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party agreed to go into a historic coalition together after members from all three parties approved the deal.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin was elected Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister) – a post he will hold until 2022, when he will be replaced by his predecessor Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael. In his acceptance speech, Martin acknowledged the different traditions of the three parties and pledged to lead a government programme of "recovery" and "renewal".

Minister Paschal Donohoe’s new European positionOne of the members of the new government, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, secured the position of President of the Eurogroup in July. Minister Donohoe won a secret ballot of 19 colleagues in, defeating the Spanish favourite, Nadia Calvino, who was backed by the European Union’s four biggest economies. The Irish Times describes the victory as “testament to the charm of a 45-year-old Dubliner who positioned himself as a bridge builder who could span the divide between the fiscally conservative northern nations and southern governments hardest hit by the pandemic”. (watch Paschal Donohoe deliver an address to ICBA membership in 2019 HERE)

Woman wins dream cottage in Co Mayo with €50 raffle ticketThis summer the Canada-based Irish owners of a cottage in Foxford, Co Mayo decided to raffle their house to raise funds for frontline healthworkers. The couple both survived COVID19 and wanted to ‘give something back’ after surviving the virus. The tickets cost €10 and they raised just short of €1 million. The lucky winner, Michele Hallahan, got the keys on Sept 1st. She had spent €50 on tickets. Speaking of her win she said, "I am definitely going to keep it, it is my dream home…I lived in the US for 20 years and always dreamed that I would own a cottage like this close to the Atlantic but this has come like a bolt out of the blue"


Valentia Cable Foundation Annual Lecture & Fireside Chat

Valentia Cable Foundation Annual Lecture

The VCF  Lecture will be held virtually on Friday Oct 9th  3.00pm – 5.30 pm and will be chaired by Ms Ann O'Dea, CEO of SiliconRepublic.com and will include speaker David Mc Court Chairman National Broadband Ireland. Following this, the Valentia Cable Foundation is  hosting a transatlantic panel with Hearts Content in Newfoundland Canada, featuring a fireside chat between the two communities and music performances on both sides of the Atlantic. This event will include the signing of a MOU will take place at the Cable Station on Valentia from 7.30pm - 9.00pm (BST) on Oct 9th.

To register for the event please see link here


ICBA Podcasts on Soundcloud

 


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

ICBA  & Mazars Webinar, 17th Sept at 4pm  - Managing the remote divide in a virtual workplace.
To register please email events@irelandcanada.com 


Thank you, and stay safe.

ICBA Newsletter – April 2020

A Message from ICBA Chair, Chris Collenette

Dear Friend,

The coronavirus has generated unprecedented uncertainty in every aspect of our lives. At the Ireland Canada Business Association we will continue to support our members throughout this challenging period. Given that reduced interaction is the best form of protection, we have postponed our member events until further notice . This includes the inaugural trade mission to Calgary and Vancouver to have taken place in May. This trade mission will now take place 24 – 28 May 2021.

On the ICBA website we have listed a number of useful links to provide information for our members to consider in responding to Covid 19. Here is the link. We have also listed a number of initiatives taken by the Irish & Canadian governments to protect communities and diminish the impact on employees, the economy and small businesses. If your business has a podcast or a webinar that will inform our members, please get in touch.

We are closely monitoring events and our thoughts are with patients in Ireland and across Canada whom the virus has now affected. I hope that you and your families keep well over the coming weeks.

Be safe, and stay well.

Kind regards

Chris Collenette

Chris Collenette

Chris Collenette, Chairperson


Why the 'Work from Home' model is the future

John Riordan, Director of Support at Shopify, in conversation with Chris Collenette, ICBA Chair

While most of us are now working from home as a result of Covid-19, some companies have been operating this model for many years. Shopify, a Canadian company and ICBA member,  is one such business. Having set up in Ireland in 2015, the global e-commerce platform employs over 300 people all across Ireland, all working remotely.

John Riordan, Director of Support at Shopify, recently joined Chris Collenette for an interview about why Shopify chose Ireland, the future of work, and Ireland's big advantage when it comes to attracting multinational companies.  In the above clip John outlines why he believes the 'work from home' model is the future. Full interview HERE.


"Today we think about those patients in Ireland and across Canada who are affected by Covid-19"

A St Patrick's Day message from Kate Hickey, Executive Director of the ICBA,
to all of our members, friends, and colleagues.


Thanks to everybody who joined us at the recent ICBA & Shannon Chamber Trade Briefing at Gateway Hub, Shannon, Co Clare. We heard excellent discussions and stories, including the success of Limerick company Samco providing biodegradable film to farmers across Canada.

Thanks especially to our panel of speakers: Pearse Conaty, Bank of Ireland, Suzanne Drisdelle, Canadian Embassy; Joanne McEnteggart, IQEQ& ICBA Vice Chair; Robert Shine, Samco; and Helen Downes of the Shannon Chamber.


Jim Kelly

"These are exciting developments at a moment of unique opportunity in our relations and demonstrate Ireland’s commitment to seize that moment. In these testing times, Ireland-Canada relations provide a welcome good news story"

Read Ambassador Jim Kelly's excellent article in The Globe and Mail HERE.

The Ambassador also joined Dan O'Donnell of the ICBA recently as part of our latest video series. In the below clip, Ambassador Kelly describes how CETA has been a major boost for Irish companies accessing the Canadian market, particularly smaller ones that would have been unable to do so prior to the agreement


Ambassador Jim Kelly in conversation with Dan O'Donnell, ICBA


PDAC Convention in Toronto

Sean Canney

Sean Canney TD, acting Minister of State for Natural Resources, provided the keynote address at the “Ireland – Open for Business” forum at the Prospectors and Developers Association Canada (PDAC) Convention and Tradeshow held in Toronto, 3 March.

The session provided updates of mineral exploration in Ireland and project overview from state bodies including Geological Survey Ireland, the Exploration and Mining Division of the Department Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Invest NI and the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). The delegates were welcomed by John Boylan, Deputy Head of Mission, Irish Embassy in Canada, and Stephen Hughes, Head of Construction , Enterprise Ireland,

Minister Canney noted that Ireland’s rankings as a destination for FDI have improved, as measured by the Fraser Institute in 2019, now ranking 2nd for Policy Perception and enjoyed a world class applied research centre in iCRAG. The Minister's full speech can be read HERE.


"It has been the most successful 5-year period in IDA’s history” - Deirdre Moran, SVP Technology & Country Manager, Canada at IDA Ireland on recent record results and a new Dublin HQ. In conversation with Deirdre Giblin, Vice Chair, ICBA


ICBA Podcasts on Soundcloud

 


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Naturally we have had to postpone all planned events for the foreseeable future but once rescheduled we will inform you of the new dates. We have already rescheduled the ICBA Trade Mission to Western Canada to 24 – 28 May 2021 and we will keep you posted on future events here and on our social channels.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Trade with Canada key to post-COVID-19 economic recovery and mitigation against Brexit

Ireland should not be the last EU country to ratify CETA, says trade association.

Ahead of Canada Day this Wednesday July 1st, The Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) is calling on the new government to ratify a hugely important trade deal between Europe and Canada. Failure to sign the agreement could hamper Ireland’s post-COVID-19 recovery and further expose the country’s economy to the impact of Brexit.

In recent years, Ireland enjoyed a trade surplus of as much as 726M EUR with Canada, with €1.4bn of Irish goods being exported to the country.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) removes 98% of customer duties, ends restrictions on open access to public procurement contracts, opens the services market, and delivers many other benefits for Canadian companies doing business in Europe and Canadian companies doing business in Canada. 13 other Member States have already ratified the deal, with Ireland now playing catch-up.

The ICBA represents some of the largest Canadian, and Canadian-owned companies in Ireland including Air Canada, Shopify, Irving Oil, Canada Life (Irish Life), TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotia Bank, Vermillion Energy, PressReader, Greenfield Global, IMAX, and Voxpro (TELUS International). The number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25% since 2018 to over 15,000 and the number of new Canadian companies expanding into Ireland has more than doubled since Brexit was passed.

The ICBA believes that such a successful and valuable relationship must be nurtured and supported, and the association is calling on the new government to ‘get it over the line’ and pass CETA through Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann as soon as possible.

Chris Collenette, Chair of the ICBA:

“The IMF, Central Bank and ESRI all predict a dramatic fall in economic activity. Ireland, as a small and exposed economy, is particularly sensitive to the impact of a global recession. The economic fallout of Brexit will only compound this blow. Regardless of what comes over the next few months, two things are true. First, the new government has its work cut out to help the economy recover, and second, as an export driven economy, we will need to increase our trade internationally.

CETA has already fueled a more than 30% rise in the value of goods trade between Ireland and Canada. However, Ireland, which, post-Brexit, will be the only English speaking jurisdiction in the EU, is now behind Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden to formally ratify the deal with Canada, predominantly an English speaking country.

Just prior to COVID-19 hitting the country, we commissioned a survey of our members, including some of the largest Canadian, and Canadian-owned companies in Ireland. 70% of respondents had planned to hire more staff and 62% are set to increase wages. While that was pre-COVID19, it shows the investment sentiment is solid. Ireland is pushing an open door when it comes to attracting Canadian companies.

With a new Irish consulate in Vancouver, a new IDA office in Toronto, and a new EI office in Montreal ((in addition to the existing one in Toronto), the last government made significant progress developing this valuable relationship. Ratifying CETA through the Dail is really the last piece of the Canadian-Ireland puzzle and we are calling on the new government to do the right thing and ratify this deal as a priority”.

Chris Collenette is a Canadian who has lived in Dublin for over 12 years.
He is Consultant to Dublin law firm Philip Lee, and resident director of two Canadian companies with operations in Ireland.
He previously served as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Industry, and the Minister of Health.
Chris Collenette is available for further comment and interview on 086 6021736

Further Info: Patrick Haughey, ICBA Media Relations 087 2394054

Canada-Ireland relationship by the numbers, some supporting facts.

Companies and Jobs
• 616: The number of Irish companies that export to Canada.
• 25,000: The number of jobs in Ireland that EU exports to Canada help support.
• 15,000: The number of employees of Canadian companies in Ireland.
• Companies across Ireland export goods and services to Canada, for example:
• Ballymote, Co. Sligo – hockey sticks, healthcare products, computer parts.
• Swords, Co. Dublin – Air Condition Parts, Whey, Forklift Trucks
• Cork, Co. Cork – Tea, Medical Equipment, Cheese

Exports and Imports
• In goods, Canada is Ireland's 7th biggest trade partner outside the EU.
• €726 m - The value of Ireland's trade surplus with Canada.
• €1.4 bn - The value of Irish exports to Canada.
• €662 m - The value of Irish imports from Canada.

Canadian Employers in Ireland
• Galway – Celestica,
• Limerick – Optel,
• Cork – Open Text, eSentire, Irving,
• Dublin – Canada Life, TD Bank, BMO, Scotia Bank, Brown Thomas, Teknicor, ISC, Pressreader, Voxpro, RX Source
• Laois – Greenfield Global
• Mayo: Vermilion Energy
• Across Ireland – Shopify employs over 300 employees in Ireland working remotely.

About the ICBA:

The Ireland Canada Business Association is the representative voice of over 100 Canadian companies doing business between the two countries, 70 of which are Canadian co’s with Irish operations. 2018 marked the association’s 40-year anniversary. It has the mandate of promoting and developing trade and industrial links between Ireland and Canada.

The Patron of the Association is the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland. The ICBA has the active participation of Ireland and Canada’s most prominent business leaders as its core supporters and influencers. It is strongly affiliated with the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver

Remembering Michael Hurley

The ICBA would like to express their condolences on the death of Michael Hurley, Deputy Ambassador to China. A much loved member of the DFA team, for the last five years Michael has supported and encouraged each ICBA trade mission to Canada. As Deputy Ambassador in Ottawa Michael helped plan the ICBA itineraries with the greatest enthusiasm. For all of us working with Michael was a pleasure through and through. Michael’s attendance at the ICBA Mission events was very much valued and we appreciated the efforts he made by travelling to Montreal and Toronto to welcome the ICBA Trade Mission participants. One of Michael’s last visits to Montreal was to to accompany the ICBA group and speak at the Ireland Canada Montreal summit. It is devastating for Michael’s family to lose such a special father and husband at such a young age. We know that Annemarie and the DFA team have lost a great man.

Michael Hurley

Article by Irish Ambassador to Canada Mr. Jim Kelly – 17 March 2020

Today is St Patrick’s Day, when Irish people celebrate our heritage and culture, together with our diaspora and friends around the world. In Canada, where one-seventh of the population claims Irish heritage, this special day recalls the deep historical connection between our countries, going back to the 16th century, when Irish fishermen first came to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

In the following centuries, generations of Irish people came to seek a new life in Canada, many fleeing famine, economic deprivation or political oppression. Canada welcomed Irish people with generosity, and in turn they helped shape Canada, from Confederation to the present day. Their contribution is commemorated in the names of streets and towns across the country, and their positive influence is found in all walks of Canadian life.

We are fortunate to be able to build on the sturdy foundation of our common history. Today, we are forging an ever closer partnership based on shared values and interests, which our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar articulated when welcoming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ireland in 2017:

“ … In an increasingly uncertain world, Ireland and Canada share the same outlook. We are like-minded. We believe in multilateralism, free trade, respect for personal liberty, the value of diversity, the benefits of migration, the need for climate action and openness to the world”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, at Farmleigh House, in Dublin, in a July 4, 2017, file photo.  PAUL FAITH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The years since have seen rapid advances in that partnership, with strong growth in our bilateral trade, investment and tourism. This is all the more notable when set against the background of a turbulent period in international relations.

Two key developments have acted as catalysts for progress. The first is the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). By virtually eliminating trade tariffs and reducing regulatory barriers, CETA has created improved, more predictable trading conditions for business. The response has been dramatic. In the first year after the provisional implementation of CETA, the value of bilateral merchandise trade between our countries grew by close to 30 per cent.

The second, perhaps surprisingly, is Brexit.

Brexit presented significant political and economic challenges for Ireland, and continues to do so. The EU-U.K. Withdrawal Agreement meets our primary concern to safeguard peace and prosperity by avoiding any return to a hard border on the island of Ireland, while maintaining the Common Travel Area between Ireland and Britain, and protecting continuing North-South co-operation. In the upcoming negotiations, we will work with partners for the closest possible EU-U.K. relationship based on a balance of rights and responsibilities, including level playing field provisions for fair competition.

However, we know that in all scenarios Brexit will mean considerable change for our businesses trading with a U.K. outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union. We are preparing extensively for Brexit and have put measures in place over several budgets to support key sectors exposed to the British market, and to incentivize diversification. Even as Brexit presents ongoing challenges at home, however, it offers significant opportunities for the Ireland-Canada relationship. With CETA making it easier for companies to establish presences and invest in our respective jurisdictions, and Brexit driving diversification of our trade, Canada is a key target market for Irish business. Already, Canada is the 10th-largest market globally for Irish exports, while our companies are employing increasing numbers here in Canada in financial services, life sciences, business-to-business software and construction products.

Many Canadian companies and investors in financial services, technology and other sectors now look to Ireland’s unique offering as a culturally compatible, English-speaking, common-law country with barrier-free access to the 450 million consumers of the EU Single Market. With a business-friendly environment, a highly educated workforce and an economy averaging growth of four to five per cent per annum, Ireland provides the perfect gateway to the EU for Canadian business.

Since St. Patrick’s Day 2017, 21 members of our government have visited Canada in support of the growing bilateral relationship. In 2019, our government published its strategy to double our impact in Canada by 2025. To deliver this strategy, new resources have been provided to Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, our export and investment promotion agencies, as well as Tourism Ireland, whose efforts have seen Canada rise to become the No. 6 market globally for tourism into Ireland. Just over a year ago, we opened a new diplomatic consulate in Vancouver – our first new diplomatic office in Canada in 80 years. A second such consulate is due to be opened in Toronto in the next two years.

These are exciting developments at a moment of unique opportunity in our relations and demonstrate Ireland’s commitment to seize that moment. In these testing times, Ireland-Canada relations provide a welcome good news story, and one worth celebrating on this St Patrick’s Day.

Published: Globe and Mail, 17 March 2020
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-this-st-patricks-day-lets-celebrate-the-canada-ireland/