Advancing Ireland’s prosperity by promoting our economic interests internationally is one of the high level goals of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in our Statement of Strategy 2017-2020 and part of our overall mission statement as a Government Department.
2016 was a significant year for how the Department approached this goal.
In a keynote speech to an invited audience of business leaders in January, Minister Flanagan announced our Economic Diplomacy Strategy:
“For 2016, my Department will adopt a new approach to supporting Ireland’s trade promotion activities in three critical areas: First, we will establish new market promotion funds to give our embassies more capacity and autonomy to pursue trade and wider promotional opportunities; Second, we will deepen the links between the Embassy network and Irish business through a new programme of secondments and an increased flow of critical data on our exporting sectors and companies; Finally, we will establish a network of locally-hired commercial attachés to extend the range and impact of our Embassies’ activities in support of trade.”
The Minister went on to note the key role of Ireland’s diplomatic missions which act as first movers and pioneers, feeding back critical information and opportunities to the private sector and to the State Agencies. The diplomatic brand provides access for Irish businesses to high-level officials, academic and market contacts. Our work throughout 2016 on promoting Ireland’s economic interests illustrated the Minister’s point.