The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D, today led a delegation of Irish companies at a major food summit in Paris, as part of a programme of trade and investment-focused events to mark St. Patrick’s Day in France.
Six Irish exporters took part in the annual Wabel Frozen Food Summit, which brings the largest European buyers of frozen food products together with potential suppliers. The delegation included Irish frozen food producers and an Irish refrigeration equipment manufacturer seeking new business opportunities in Europe.
The Tánaiste also witnessed the signing of contracts worth €3.5 million by two Irish technology companies in the transport and medical devices sectors, with major French partners.
France is the leading Eurozone market – and the second largest global market after the UK – for Irish food and drink products. It is also Ireland’s number-one market for lamb and seafood exports.
Speaking at the Wabel Food Summit, the Tánaiste said:
“The value of our food and drink exports to France grew by 14 percent last year alone, driven largely by the Irish food sector’s deep commitment to high quality and innovative products. Today is about helping to maintain that momentum. France is Ireland’s third largest market for Irish indigenous company exports.
"France is a crucial market for Irish companies who are getting valuable support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland to grow their business overseas and create valuable jobs at home.”
In the first of a series of high-level political meetings, the Tánaiste met with the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, for talks on the deepening political crisis in Ukraine and the ongoing humanitarian crises in Mali and the Central African Republic.
The Middle East peace process and the worsening crisis in Syria were also discussed.
March 13, 2014
Notes to the editor
· The Tánaiste’s programme is organised by the Embassy of Ireland, Paris, in conjunction with the State Agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Bord Bia.
· Irish food exports to France grew by 14% in 2013, amounting to €673 million. Categories such as prepared foods showed major growth. The French retail grocery market was worth an estimated €225 billion in 2013. France is also home to one of the largest food service markets in Europe, valued at over €86.5 billion in 2012.
· Irish companies are leading suppliers of pharmaceuticals and computer software and that trend is also on the up. In 2012, almost 50 Enterprise Ireland clients exported to France for the first time.