It has been a busy September and October for the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, and I wanted to bring you all up to speed on what has been going on.

The Business Gathering

On September 27th, the Canadian Chambers, in tandem with the Ireland Canada Business Association in Dublin, hosted a one day forum at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

The event took place to further develop and strengthen the growing bilateral trade opportunities between our countries. Canada and Ireland enjoy a historic relationship in trade. Canada receives one quarter of Irish investment abroad. Over 60 Irish companies employ close to 6,000 people in Canada. Irish exports to Canada have been steadily increasing and last year saw a 24% increase year-to-year.

The event was an overwhelming success. More than 40 attendees travelled to Ireland from Canada and were joined at the Dublin event by another 150 attendees from business and government.

Our group was welcomed with an address from the Hon. Loyola Hern, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland. Our key note speaker was the Hon. John Manley, former Deputy PM of Canada and now the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). He spoke on a variety of economic development opportunities in Canada paying particular attention to our energy sector.

In addition to Mr. Manley, we were thrilled to be joined and addressed on the day by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Oisin Quinn, and the Irish Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D. and Danny McCoy the CEO of Ireland’s Business and Employers.

Attendees had opportunities throughout the day to network and forge the connections that will help them do business both in Ireland and in Canada.

A special thanks to Cormac Monahan, Malachy Smith and the organizing committee in Canada and Ireland which spent over eight months organizing all of the critical details that ensured the event was a success.

In my capacity as President of the ICCC, I used every networking opportunity to talk about Alberta, and the great potential for expanding trade growth between our jurisdictions.

Watch for details of the Canadian Gathering to be held in 2015.


Global Economic Forum

October 4 and 5th, I had the good fortune of attending the third Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle, which brought together 260 leading Irish and Irish-connected figures from around the world to focus on economic growth and job creation.

Through plenary sessions, working groups and panel discussions, the Forum focused on four areas:

• Overcoming the challenges facing the domestic economy and tackling youth employment;
• Financial services and public financing;
• Technology; and
• Education – focussing on internationalization and alumni engagement.

Innovative ideas and practical solutions, on various initiatives, were presented through the eighteen working groups. As well, Forum participants had the opportunity to engage with indigenous companies and the wider public. At the end of the two days, all initiatives were presented to the Government for consideration.

I was also invited to participate in the Forum’s Regional Roundtable Event in Cork held at the University of Cork’s beautiful and historic campus. The local business community and Enterprise Ireland both participated. There was also a group of young future entrepreneurs asking many questions of the panel on how they can start and grow their businesses locally and abroad.

I will update you further as more details emerge as to how the information gathered from the Forum will be used.


Message from Ambassador Bassett

The CETA Agreement is terrific news both for Europe and Canada and especially for the people of Ireland. As Canada’s eastern neighbour and the EU country closest geographically to Canada, Ireland has a major stake in promoting greater trade and investment between the European Union and Canada. We, in Ireland, have such historic, ethnic, linguistic and commercial interest in Canada.

On our side in the Embassy, we have worked hard over the last four years with our European and Canadian colleagues to achieve this agreement which, it has been postulated, will increase trade by many billions and could lead to up to 80,000 new jobs in Canada. Ireland expects to increase our exports to Canada by $250m per annum which, in turn, will lead to more sustainable employment in Ireland. In future, 98% of all goods will be tariff free between the EU and Canada.

The Governments have now put in place the free trade framework and it is now up to commercial concerns to seize the opportunity that CETA presents. The Chapters of the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce have a special role to play in ensuring that this opportunity, and the potential it represents, is fully realised by promoting the terms of the agreement.

I am personally very satisfied that this day has arrived and that the 28 countries of the European Union, representing 500 million consumers, have entered into this historic deal with Canada.

If you require additional information on any of the above, please contact
Laureen Regan at 403-244-9017.

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