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Minister Flanagan travels to United Arab Emirates

Minister Charles Flanagan, Ireland, Travel, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, Ireland, 2015

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, today (Sunday, 6 December) travels to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an official visit at the invitation of the Emirati Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Minister Flanagan has planned a comprehensive programme, spanning discussions with senior Emirati Ministers, and engagements with Irish and Emirati business leaders and members of the Irish community.

The programme includes a meeting with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He will also meet with Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, who acted as Patron of the first Global Gaelic Games in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, and with Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, who visited Ireland in 2012.

Minister Flanagan will address the Dubai Irish Business Network, which supports the flourishing Irish business community in Dubai.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister Flanagan said:

“As one of Ireland’s priority markets, the UAE is a key economic partner for Ireland. There is strong and growing bilateral trade between Ireland and the UAE, amounting to over €1 billion in 2013. The UAE is the main focus for Irish companies looking to do business in the Gulf. Many Irish citizens have found in the Emirates a welcoming and dynamic environment for business and trade, and also for the creation of a thriving Irish community.

"While the relationship is strong, there are many avenues for growth and development that can equally benefit our two nations. These include the areas of ICT, financial services, life sciences, education, food production – all sectors in which Ireland excels.

"Ireland has an excellent reputation in the UAE, due in no small part to the many Irish men and women contributing to the success of the Emirates as the hub of business and tourism in the Gulf. These people are ambassadors of our Global Island, and the trade and support networks they have developed serve as a model for Irish communities everywhere.”

Minister Flanagan’s visit to the UAE reciprocates the visit of the Emirati Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Ireland in November 2013. The Minister stated:

“I was pleased to accept Sheikh Abdullah’s invitation, and I look forward to the discussions that I will have with both him and the other Ministers in terms of our trade and economic relationship. We have much in common through our respective commitment to the creation of economic growth and prosperity.

"I also anticipate an interesting discussion on the issues currently affecting the Middle East region, and I look forward to getting a valuable regional insight on these matters.

"I look forward to building stronger bilateral relations between Ireland and the UAE, and to continuing to work closely with my Emirati counterpart on all of these issues.”

This visit follows on from the visit of the Taoiseach to the UAE in 2014.

Minister Flanagan concluded:

“The Ireland-UAE relationship is an important one, and my visit represents continued investment in this relationship.”

ENDS

PRESS OFFICE

6 DECEMBER 2015

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

• Total trade in goods for 2014 between Ireland and the UAE was €376 million, an 18% increase on 2013. Exports in goods totalled €357 million, and imports €19 million. Trade in services figures for 2014 have not yet been published.

• Total bilateral trade (goods and services) in 2013 between Ireland and the UAE was valued at €1,094 million, an increase of 12% on the previous year. Of this, trade in goods accounted for €306 million and trade in services was €799 million.

• Connectivity between Ireland and the UAE is well developed, with both Etihad Airways and Emirates operating 14 flights each between Dublin and Abu Dhabi each week.

• Etihad Airways is a major sponsor of the GAA. In March 2015, the first GAA World Games were held in Abu Dhabi.

• The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, led a successful trade mission to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar on 4-9 January 2014. Eighty-seven Irish companies and over 100 executives participated in the mission.

• There are approx. 7,000 Irish citizens living in the UAE and approx. 40,000 Irish citizens travel to the UAE each year.

• On Monday, Minister Flanagan will meet with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will discuss bilateral issues, as well as regional issues including the Syrian crisis and regional instability in the Middle East.

• Minister Flanagan will meet with Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, as well as with members of the Abu Dhabi Irish Business Council, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and other members of the Abu Dhabi business community.

• The Minister will also meet with Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, where the Ministers will discuss economic growth and opportunities for both Ireland and the UAE.

• Minister Flanagan will address the Dubai Irish Business Network. Founded in 2010, the IBN is dynamic and actively supports Irish people working across diverse sectors, including ICT, food and financial services. In addition, through the Network, established business figures in the UAE mentor new arrivals to the Emirates.