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Tánaiste and Commissioner Vestager agree to establish Working Group on business supports to deal with challenges of Brexit for Business

Tánaiste attends Foreign Affairs Council on Trade, highlighting how progresssion of EU trade agenda can help Irish business

  • Tánaiste and Commissioner Margrethe Vestager agree to establish working group on business supports to deal with challenges of Brexit

  • Tánaiste says progressing EU trade agenda crucial to opening up new markets for Irish business

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD. was in Brussels today at the Foreign Affairs Council on Trade and took the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to discuss the unique challenges that Irish companies are facing as a result of Brexit and flexibilities within State Aid rules.

Speaking after the meeting An Tánaiste said:

“I am pleased that the Commissioner and I agreed to establish a working group on how to help Irish business deal with Brexit. Through this working group, my officials will be able to work with Commission officials on an ongoing basis on potential future supports for Irish business.

“The Commission acknowledges the unique exposure of Irish-based businesses to Brexit. We agreed that it is essential that Ireland is able to respond in a timely fashion to the likely challenges ahead. The working group will help ensure that we are in a position to respond to companies’ needs in an agile way, should the need arise.

“I highlighted the fact that many exposed sectors provide essential employment in the border area and in the regions.”

“I used today’s meeting as an opportunity to present Commissioner Vestager with a copy of our new report – Building Stronger Business – which sets out how my Department is supporting businesses face the challenges of Brexit.

“I discussed first hand with Commissioner Vestager the potential impact of Brexit on employment-intensive sectors, such as tourism, engineering, dairy, agri-food and other sectors.

It was agreed that the working group will meet within the next fortnight.

Meeting of Foreign Affairs Council on Trade

At the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Trade, An Tánaiste met with other EU Trade Ministers and Commissioner on Trade, Cecilia Malmström, to discuss the upcoming 11th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference which will take place from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as the status of a number of ongoing EU Trade negotiations.

An Tánaiste encouraged the European Union to continue to pursue a comprehensive agenda for the WTO Ministerial Conference as a sign of our continued support for a global, balanced, fair and rules-based trading system. 

“We want to progress the EU’s trade agenda in order to ensure that Irish exporters gain greater market share in existing markets and improved terms of entry to new markets, including in Mexico.”

“Given the significant role that trade plays in building strong economies across the EU we each have a responsibility to demonstrate to our citizens the connection with job creation and living standards to the EU trade agenda.”

An Tanaiste emphasised the importance of the proposed Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, recognising that the advancement of gender equality has benefits for society as a whole, a positive impact on economic growth and helps to reduce poverty.

Building on her recent trade mission to Japan, An Tánaiste welcomed the political agreement in principal on the EU-Japan trade negotiations and expressed her desire to see agreement reached on outstanding technical issues, in order for Irish and EU exporters and companies to take advantage of the benefits of this important Agreement.

An Tánaiste emphasised Ireland’s concerns on how negotiations on an Agreement with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) could impact on our agricultural sector, especially in relation to the beef market. 


For further information, please contact Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation 01 631 2200 or