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Minister Humphreys visits the border region with Swedish Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade, Ms Ann Linde

Ms Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation has held bilateral discussions on a range of trade issues with the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ms. Ann Linde. The Ministers today visited the border region, starting in Errigal Contracts in North Monaghan to discuss the impact of Brexit on business following by a visit to the border at Moy Bridge.

Minister Humphreys said: Sweden has been a strong supporter of Ireland throughout the Brexit negotiations so I am delighted to visit the border region with Minister Linde today. It is important to help deepen the understanding that the Irish border is not just about trade, but about people’s daily lives and about the peace on the island of Ireland that must be protected in all of its aspects.”

In advance of next week’s meeting of EU Trade Ministers, Minister Humphreys took the opportunity to discuss key trade issues including the negotiating mandate for the opening of trade negotiations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand. The Ministers also discussed the recently announced agreement in principle on the main parts of the EU’s trade deal with Mexico, as well as the concluded negotiations with Japan and Singapore.

Minister Humphreys said: “The EU’s existing and new trade deals continue to be very important for Ireland by opening new markets for Irish firm’s goods and services and increasing export and investment opportunities. Promoting diversified export markets is a key plank of our Trade Policy which has come into sharper focus in light of the potential impacts of Brexit for companies ” The Minister added: “The Agreements that have been struck with Singapore and Japan plus the recently agreed deal with Mexico, which will hopefully be added to by ones with Australia and New Zealand, in due course, offer significant trade and investment opportunities for businesses in Ireland through increased market access, reduced tariffs and administrative simplification for exporters”.

Minister Humphreys also shared her analysis of the current state of play regarding EU/US trade relations in light of her discussions with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and others, in Washington earlier this month. Minister Humphreys restated Ireland’s strong support for the EU strategy of seeking a permanment exemption from US steel and aluminium tariffs while exploring the opportunities for deepening joint EU-US cooperation on a range of mutually agreed trade issues. The Minister also reiterated Ireland’s strong commitment to the WTO and the rules-based, multilateral, trading system which underpins a Level Playing Field for all trading nations.