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Free Trade Deal To Boost Irish Exports To Asia

Clare Herald, Ireland

Free Trade Deal To Boost Irish Exports To Asia

17 September 2010

By Noel Cotter

A landmark Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed this week in Brussels will boost Irish exports to Asia, according to the Minister for Trade and Commerce, Billy Kelleher TD.

This is the first significant FTA since the European Union’s trade strategy was redefined by Global Europe - the EU’s trade policy statement issued in 2006.

That policy set an objective for the EU of concluding a series of comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements to create better economic ties with key markets and trading partners.

The agreement with South Korea, signed today at a Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels, is the first flagship trade deal under that policy.

Minister Kelleher said signing the agreement demonstrates the Government’s commitment to boosting our exports and driving economic recovery.

‘Open markets and fewer restrictive trade rules will give our exporters more opportunities in more markets. Asia has been a key market for export growth and this deal supports our drive for economic recovery based on export-led growth,’ said Minister Kelleher.

He said all our top exports to South Korea will benefit from the more liberal trade regime this agreement will introduce.

‘For example, our exports of pharmaceuticals, electronics, medical devices and spirits will very quickly face zero tariffs in Korea. Irish whiskey, for example, will be duty free into Korea after three years. This deal is good for exporters, small businesses and jobs,’ said Minister Kelleher.