News & Events

Heather Humphreys and EU Trade Ministers discuss EU Trade in Brussels

  • Topics of discussion include Trade Relations with the US

  • Ministers approve Trade Agreements with Japan and Singapore

  • Ministers agree to the commencement of Trade Agreement negotiations with Australia and with New Zealand

Ms Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation today (Tuesday 22nd May) took part in the meeting of EU Trade Ministers in Brussels, which focussed on progress with Trade Negotiations with partners across the globe and our current EU/US Trade relations.

Ministers approved implementation of the recently concluded trade deals with Japan and Singapore and approved the opening of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Ministers also held private discussions on the latest developments in cross-Atlantic EU/US trade relations against the challenging background of possible tariffs and sanctions. In addition, Ministers took stock of the state-of-play with negotiations on other Trade Agreements with countries and trading blocs across the globe, particularly in South America and the ASEAN Region.

In relation to the negotiating mandates for Australia and New Zealand, the Minister said: “I would like to see the commencement of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Ireland like all Member States, has ‘defensive’ as well as ‘offensive’ trade interests and we are mindful of the cumulative impact of EU Free Trade Agreements on specific sectors like agriculture and the challenges they face. Ultimately, this is a matter for the negotiations and I am satisfied that this is adequately reflected in the Mandates”.

The Minister also noted that “building new market opportunities is a vital part of Ireland’s strategy for further trade diversification and the development of strong trading relationships across the globe”.

Minister Humphreys added: “Ireland’s Agri-food sector – our largest indigenous industry – will benefit from access to Japan’s highly valuable export market, with improved access for beef, pork, cheese and processed agricultural products. The Agreement will also ensure tariff elimination on medical devices and pharmaceutical products which are also manufactured in Ireland. Likewise with the Singapore Agreement, there are opportunities for further increasing poultry and other agri-food exports.”

The Minister continued: “These Agreements, concluded and prospective, also send a powerful positive message at a geopolitical level that international trade cooperation is alive and well and that such agreements provide the best route of improving living standards for our citizens, underpinning jobs across the EU, and of addressing global trading challenges”.

Finally, Minister Humphreys also held bilateral discussions with EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, to discuss the EU Trade Agenda and the opportunities for the Irish Agriculture sector.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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