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Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, TD - Enterprise Ireland / IDA Client Dinner

Fáilte, Sawadee Khrap, Welcome.

A chairde, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen it is my great pleasure to be with you here in Bangkok this evening and let me start by thanking all of you for your attendance. My thanks also to Enterprise Ireland (Smruti Inamdar and her team) and IDA (Gerard Whitty) for organising and hosting this event in partnership with Ambassador Cotter and his team.

The reason for my visit to Thailand this week is to continue to strengthen the longstanding and growing relationship between Thailand and Ireland at all levels: politically, culturally and economically.

While Ireland has traditionally always had a warm relationship with Thailand, the opening of the Embassy of Ireland in Bangkok almost four years ago marked a significant shift in the strength and depth of this relationship. Combined with the work of Embassy Bangkok and our State agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA, based in Singapore, recent years have seen a marked increase in the frequency and quality of engagement with Thailand with my visit being the second Ministerial visit to take place.

I would like to take a few moments this evening to speak to you about Ireland and the work of our State agencies: Enterprise Ireland who work with Irish clients to support their development, growth and diversification worldwide, and the IDA who are responsible for helping foreign companies establish their European base of operations in Ireland.

The Enterprise Ireland team based in Singapore have been doing excellent work here in the Asia Pacific region with their clients.

Ireland has had the fastest growing economy in the EU for the past two years and this is reflected in the export performance of Enterprise Ireland clients. 2017 was a record year with international sales of €22.7 billion.

Over the last five years more than 600 Enterprise Ireland clients exported over €2bn of innovative goods and services to the Asia Pacific region. This performance shows the strength and capabilities of Irish companies, from start-up entrepreneurs to SMEs and our own home-grown multinationals, competing at a global level.

There are nearly 300 exporters to the ASEAN region and the Enterprise Ireland team is structured around key sectors of opportunity including Aviation & Travel Technologies, Education, Industrial products, Digital Technologies, Healthcare, and Fintech.

These are great examples of sectors where Ireland has significant innovation and expertise, providing high-added value solutions and where the EI team is facilitating introductions between Irish and Thai companies to deliver on specific opportunities.

Of course, Ireland not only produces successful companies who are looking outward for export, we are also one of the most attractive countries in the world for investment. IDA have been extraordinarily successful in attracting foreign business to Ireland, and keeping them there.

Some of the world’s most recognisable and innovative companies have chosen to invest in Ireland. Over 1,300 foreign-headquartered companies have significant operations in Ireland employing over 200,000 people. These include multinationals like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, and Citibank to name just a few.

Companies choose Ireland for a variety of reasons but primarily, because Ireland is regarded and regularly ranked as one of the best places in the world to do business. They are drawn by Ireland’s young, highly-educated, highly-skilled, multi-lingual work force, our membership of the European Union, the strong base of existing FDI companies, the proximity to the European market, a consistent, attractive tax regime of 12.5%, a much improved cost competitiveness and a safe and secure Common Law jurisdiction.

Ireland is your business gateway to Europe, and beyond, allowing companies barrier-free access to Europe’s 500 million consumers, one of the largest markets in the world (c. 22% of global GDP). Increasingly, Ireland is attracting companies from the Asia Pacific region who are using Ireland as a cost-effective base to do business in Europe. Regional giants from Asia Pacific such as Huawei, Tata, InfoSys, Lenovo, SMBC, Trend Micro and Bank of China have all established a presence in Ireland.

Significantly, more and more companies from ASEAN have also established a presence in Ireland including companies like Keppel, Creative Technologies, ST Engineering, Flextronics, and of course, Indorama from Thailand, who employ 270 people in Mullagh, Co. Cavan in one of Europe’s largest P.E.T. recycling facilities.

But Ireland is not only for the multinational giants. As the Silicon Valley of Europe, Ireland is one of the most recognized global tech hubs, where fast-growing, disruptive technology companies can scale and internationalise their business. The Irish Government provides significant support and assistance for companies setting up in Ireland, especially in areas of Research, Development and Innovation.

IDA and Enterprise Ireland are both working extensively in the region and are based in Singapore. Needless to say their representatives here this evening Gerard Whitty (IDA) and Smruti Inamdar (EI) would be more than happy to discuss opportunities with you.

I am looking forward to attending the Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum tomorrow morning which is another particularly timely opportunity to showcase Irish business here in Thailand. My sincere thanks to Paul Scales and his Chamber colleagues for putting together another great event. I look forward to ever increasing strengthening of relations between our two countries.

Thank you once again and enjoy the rest of the evening.

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