Shannon Region is well placed to capitalise on any boost in Trade between the EU/US – BREEN

April 11th, 2012 - Pat Breen

fine-gael-ard-fheis-19751-2332Pictured speaking at the EU & International Affairs Session at last weekend’s Fine Gael Ard Fheis; Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade Pat Breen T.D., Deputy Joe Reilly T.D, Vice-Chairman of the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement Committee, Deputy Pascal Donohue TD., Vice-Chairman of the European Affairs Committee and Senator Maurice Cummins, Fine Gael Whip in the Seanad and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.

Abolition of non-tariff measures is the key to unlocking Trade potential.

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen T.D. was one of a number of key panel speakers who participated in the EU & International Affairs Session at last weekend’s Fine Gael Ard Fheis which took place at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

This session prompted a number of motions from various Fine Gael Branches throughout the Country but it was the Motion from Fine Gael’s Brussels Branch which sparked much debate during the session. Their motion called on the Government to explore radical options to boost trade between the US and the EU, including the abolition of a range of tariffs which exist between the two trading blocs. Such reforms could be worth billions to the economies on both sides of the Atlantic, with Ireland being best placed geographically to benefit.

“The main focus of the Ard Fheis was on jobs and the economy. Our Government has worked hard over the past 12 months to restore Ireland’s international reputation and particular focus has been placed on securing inward investment and new markets for Ireland.

Next year, Ireland will hold the Presidency of the European Union and this will provide Ireland with the opportunity to build on the strong ties which exist between the EU and the US. This transatlantic relationship has tremendous potential. Given the low average tariffs which are under 3%, tackling the non-tariff barriers is the key to exploiting this potential. EU & US economies account for about half of the World’s GDP. In 2010, EU goods exports to the US were worth €242.10 billion with EU Service Exports worth €125.20 billion, while at the same time, US goods imports in to the EU were valued at €169.50 billion and €131 billion respectively.

In 2009, a study carried out by the EU identified the key non-tariff measures that affect trade between the EU/US and it is estimated that the removal of half of these existing NTM’s would translate into an increase in GDP of €163 billion until 2018 on both sides of the Atlantic. Non -Tariff measures include customs and import licensing procedures; regulatory restrictions and red tape.

Ireland is best placed geographically to benefit from any increase in trade between the EU and US. Many of the Companies which I have spoken to in the United States in terms of Foreign Direct Investment spoke about the benefits of Ireland’s location in terms of accessing EU markets for their products.

In Clare we have an International Airport at Shannon Airport on our doorstep and for that reason I believe that this is an opportune time to develop closer economic ties between the EU and the US and for the potential for this transatlantic dialogue, to be harnessed through the development of a transatlantic foundation to be located at Shannon Airport. This foundation would be a centre of excellence that would promote common interests to the benefit of both Europe and North America. Given Shannon Airport’s history and its strong ties with the United States, it would be appropriate that his Foundation be based there.

Last year, Ireland’s exports were worth €171 billion. Removing the obstacles to further growth between the EU and the US such as the non-tariff measures has the potential to boost trade between the EU/US and Ireland and particularly the Shannon Region is very well placed to capitalise on any increase in trade following their removal.”