Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar TD, To Visit Saudi Arabia And The United Arab Emirates, Leading The Largest Single Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission Since 2019


Marking the single largest trade mission internationally since 2019, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week leading a trade mission consisting of 60 Irish companies to support the accelerated export-led recovery of Irish businesses in the Gulf region.

Exports by Enterprise Ireland supported companies to the IMEA (India, Middle East and Africa) region remained strong in 2020, valued at €1.152 billion Euros.Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates form the two most important markets in the Gulf region for Irish companies supported by Enterprise Ireland,the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency. Exports to these two markets continued to rise last year, topping close to €320 million Euros ($367 million USD), even with the backdrop of the challenging Covid-19 pandemic causing severe disruption worldwide. The combined two markets are strategically important for Ireland in the Gulf region. As a result, Irish companies enjoy success in the marketplace, with local partners valuing Irish innovation across various sectors.

Signifying the importance placed on the region – in particular, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar TD, will be joined on the trade mission by Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, with the aim of further boosting trade collaboration between Ireland and the Gulf states by supporting Irish companies to access export and partnership opportunities, establish strategic connections with local partners in the markets, and reinforce existing relations.

Leading the trade mission, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD said, “The Gulf region is strategically important for Ireland with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, being major trading partners. I am really looking forward to this trade mission, which will be our largest for indigenous enterprise, since the pandemic began. I hope it will further strengthen the close bonds between our countries and create new opportunities for all sides. Last year, even with Covid-19, Irish exports to the United Arab Emirates grew by 12% and to Saudi Arabia by 6% and we’re committed to growing this even further.”

On the first leg of the trade mission, Leo Varadkar will visit Saudi Arabia, marking the first high-level Ministerial trade mission to Saudi Arabia in over half a decade, for a programme that will cover the sectors of aviation, higher education, construction, healthcare, financial services, agri-tech, and equine. Whilst visiting the capital, the Deputy Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with Government officials to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for closer cooperation and collaboration with the growing list of companies looking to do business in the country.

On the second leg to the UAE, Leo Varadkarwill visit the Dubai AirshowwhereEnterprise Ireland will present the Irish Aviation House, a major new initiative at Dubai Airshow 2021 designed to showcase the depth and breadth of Ireland’s world-leading aviation and aerospace ecosystem. The Irish Aviation House will be home to 12 leading Irish companies from the aviation and aerospace sector in addition to Irish partners. Leo Varadkar and Leo Clancy will make keynote addresses to an Irish aviation breakfast event and the joint IATA – Enterprise Ireland symposium with leading C-suite executives from some of the world’s leading airlines. With Dubai currently the host for the six-month long world expo, Leo Varadkar will also visit the Ireland national pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and attend a performance of Riverdance.

Accompanying Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister on the trade mission, Leo Clancy, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, said, “The UAE and Saudi Arabia have huge potential as further growth markets for Irish companies who are seeking to expand their international reach. Our Enterprise Ireland team on the ground in both markets connects local partners to the array of leading Irish companies with the innovative solutions and expertise so much in demand in the vibrant markets. This trade mission will be the biggest single trade mission undertaken by Enterprise Ireland this year and demonstrates the strong interest of Irish companies in doing business in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government’s trade and innovation agency. With 40 international offices worldwide, Enterprise Ireland has three offices across the GCC, in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh.