April 13, 2022
New government trade policy must be matched with plan for non-export focused SMEs – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that the government’s new trade policy must be matched by a plan for non-exporting small and medium enterprises to holistically benefit the economy.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The government’s new ‘Trade and Investment Strategy 2022-2026 – Value for Ireland, Values for the World’ has a number of commendable aims. But in many places, it is either short-sighted or lacking in detail.

“While the document outlines several plans and aims, it does not place sufficient emphasis on the opportunity that exists for the state to seize opportunities within the single market that have been created by Britain leaving both the European Union and the single market.

“There are a number of opportunities for Irish companies to fill trade voids that have materialised in the European economy due to the post-Brexit situation.

“However, with the right plan and support, many Irish SMEs and microbusinesses could grow their trade and export capacity by filling these trade voids. 

“This should have formed part of section seven of the policy dedicated to how the State can reap the benefits of the EU single market.

“There is no doubt that Ireland’s position as a small open economy means that it is essential for our economy that Irish enterprise fully avails of opportunities on global markets, but this does not mean that non-export focused businesses can be ignored by government.

“For non-FDI, and non-exporting companies, there is a distinct and historic lack of state support. These entrepreneurs, business owners and workers feel like they have been left behind.

“Therefore, in conjunction with a global trade policy, the establishment of a new Irish Enterprise Agency focused on scaling existing Irish businesses and providing a strong agency for non-export focused start-ups and established businesses on our main streets would significantly benefit workers and the economy.

“Finally, I would implore the government, and the Tánaiste, to familiarise themselves with the human rights aims of their new trade policy before representatives head up trade missions to states with gross human rights violations to their name.”

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