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
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.
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
Goldy Hyder says firms seeking stability want to avoid ‘short-term pain’ of UK’s exit
Brexit will present a “tremendous opportunity for Ireland” to attract investors concerned about the “short-term pain” facing the UK, the head of Canada’s most powerful business lobby group has said.
Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, which represents the chief executives of 150 large Canadian companies, said Ireland becoming the only English-speaking country in Europe under the EU-Canadian free trade agreement after Brexit made the State “an attractive destination for capital and talent”.
As the UK endures the “pain” of leaving the EU, Ireland could draw more investment from businesses in Canada that are looking for certainty in the political and business world, said Mr Hyder on a visit to Dublin.
“Businesses take a view of who offers me, as a business, the predictable, stable regulatory environment and also an environment that is attractive from the tax and talent side, and the Irish story is a very strong one,” said Mr Hyder, who represents companies accounting for half the value of Toronto’s stock exchange.
Ireland’s “resilience and rebound culture” in the decade since the financial crash and its embrace of an entrepreneurial culture, trade and multiculturalism “bode well for Ireland to be a magnet for both capital and talent” at a time when many other parts of the world were “going in other directions”, he said.
“If Ireland was a stock, I would buy. It’s probably ‘buy low’ right now still. I don’t think Ireland has achieved its full potential,” said Mr Hyder, who spoke at the annual Maple Leaf dinner of the Ireland Canada Business Association on Friday night.
Brexit an ‘anomaly’
Visiting Dublin after three days in the UK, which included a meeting at 10 Downing Street, Mr Hyder said Brexit was “unfortunate” and he hoped it was “an anomaly” while the world was breaking down into large trading blocs that provided businesses with predictability, certainty and confidence in markets.
Speaking a day after the EU and UK reached agreement on a new Brexit deal, he said he was “very pleased” to see the Irish-UK relationship remaining strong even on a bilateral rather than multilateral basis.
“Don’t short the UK,” he said, referring to the market bet against a share. “There may well be some short-term pain, but even their slogan – keep calm and carry on – has a certain applicability in this situation for them. There is a resilience and a resolve to continue.”
Mr Hyder expects the Conservatives to push for a UK-Canada free trade deal if Andrew Scheer unseats Canada’s liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in Monday’s election.
He urged the Irish Government to ratify the EU-Canada trade deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or Ceta, as soon as possible to give business “confidence” in the deal.
Asked about Aer Lingus’s postponement of a new Dublin-Montreal air route because of the unavailability of new aircraft, Mr Hyder said Canadian airlines Air Canada and WestJet had established routes with Ireland and that these routes would lead to the launch of more to serve growing tourism between the countries.
“I think tourism is going to see a significant bump. It’s just natural,” he said.
Source: The Irish Times, 19 October 2019 - Simon Carswell, Public Affairs Editor
In the latest of our special series of profiles, Laureen Regan, President and Founder of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, talks about doing business in Calgary and the province of Alberta.
Can you tell us a little about the ICCCC?
The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in Calgary works to promote and support bilateral trade between Alberta and Ireland. We create collaboration opportunities and business connections between Irish and Canadian professionals through networking and industry-specific events featuring key business leaders and diplomats.
What originally brought you to Calgary?
Waterford born, my family immigrated to Alberta for work many years ago. Here they found many opportunities, a strong entrepreneurial spirit to match their own and a welcoming community.
What advice would you give Irish companies about business in Alberta?
Irish Companies looking to start or set up a business in Alberta can see success if they are committed to maintaining a permanent presence here. It is difficult to gain traction when visits to Alberta are monthly or only every few weeks. Relationships are very important in the business community. It takes time, in market, to build connections and foster and grow the relationships needed to succeed.
Why Calgary? Top three things that make it a great place to live and do business
- Quality of Life
We are ranked in the top 5 most liveable cities in the world. The pool of highly qualified workers has made Calgary a global talent hub that is home to innovators and entrepreneurs.
The City has the benefits of having a large metropolitan centre, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, clean and safe environment, abundant green spaces and parks, longest urban pathway system, and an hour’s drive from the Canadian Rockies.
Calgary is ranked #1, out of Canada’s 100 largest cities for the sunniest days year-round – over 2,300 hours of sunshine annually!
- Connected to the World
Calgary has the highest head office concentration per capita in Canada. It has ready access to global markets through a highly integrated transportation and logistics system moving people, products, and services. Calgary also provides access to the rapidly expanding markets in Asia by air and via the Port of Vancouver and is also regarded by many European companies as a gateway to North America.
- Low cost of doing business
Compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta has no provincial sales tax, no health care premiums, lower personal income tax rates and the lowest fuel tax among provinces.
Calgary businesses also benefit from the fact that Alberta has no inventory tax, no machinery and equipment tax and no payroll tax, which are common in many other provinces and U.S. states.
Albertans. across all income ranges, will generally continue to pay the lowest overall taxes compared to other provinces.
If you could give one message to the Irish government about how to improve the Ireland Canada relationship, what would it be?
Canada is a large and diverse country, with much to offer. Alberta has strong, established markets in many sectors including agriculture, advanced industries, energy, renewables, forestry, water, manufacturing and more. Alberta also has leading university and research institutions.
Direct access through WestJet is opening up the Alberta market to Irish businesses and Canadian businesses are eyeing up the Irish and European markets.
Building awareness of the market opportunities in both directions is a crucial first step.
Is the future bright for Irish companies operating in or exporting to Canada?
The future is very bright for Irish companies looking for market access into Canada. Alberta has a strong focus on market diversification and a history of successful partnerships with many countries around the globe.
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, direct flights and a vibrant province that is ‘open for business’ all work together to create a solid foundation for opportunities in multiple sectors.
Alberta opens the doors to Canadian, American and Asian markets.
Anything else you would like to mention…
The time has never been better for Irish and Alberta businesses looking for new markets. Businesses and visitors alike will find a world of opportunity, an affordable business climate, young and educated workforce and a warm welcome in Alberta.