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Tánaiste commissions major study of global trade opportunities to help Irish business expand abroad and face challenge of Brexit

  • Brexit highlights importance of diversification into new markets and growing Irish exports in existing markets

  • New study adds to ongoing research into economic responses to Brexit

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today (Friday, 18 August 2017) announced that she has commissioned a major examination of the economic opportunities and impacts for Ireland arising from EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

The objective of this study is to deepen the understanding of how Ireland can best take advantage of the opportunities under existing and prospective free trade agreements, and ensure our businesses are prepared to access new markets and compete internationally.    

Commenting on the study, the Tánaiste stated, with a small domestic market, and in light of the challenges presented by Brexit, diversification into new markets and growing Irish exports in existing markets is now more critically important than ever before.

“This study will demonstrate how Ireland can best benefit from the opportunities presented by EU Free Trade Agreements, explore how they impact our economy across a wide range of economic sectors and explore the role of Brexit. The EU trade agenda is moving ahead swiftly, with preparations for the opening of trade talks, for example, with New Zealand and Australia well underway. I want to ensure that Ireland has a sound evidence base to work from in other upcoming trade negotiations”, the Tánaiste said.

“I am strongly committed to ensuring that the Government is doing everything possible to respond strongly to the impacts of Brexit and to safeguard Irish jobs in every part of the country, protect investment and expand exports. Together with my Ministerial colleagues, I will be leading an ambitious range of trade missions in the months ahead to assist Irish companies to do business abroad”, she added.


Note to Editors:

The study is expected to commence in October 2017, and will be delivered in three parts:

i) Concluded Agreement in Force: the EU-Korea FTA.

ii) Recently Concluded Agreements: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

iii) Prospective Agreements: EU-Mexico, Mercosur, New Zealand and Australia Free Trade Agreements.

The request for tenders for the study will go live on E-Tenders on Monday, 21 August. ( and the OJEC (