Belfast Telegraph

Trade mission 'will secure jobs'

A week-long trip to the Middle East will help Irish companies land export deals and secure new jobs at home, Trade Minister Batt O'Keeffe has said.

Mr O'Keeffe will lead the visit of 45 homegrown firms and banking representatives to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"We will use this trade mission to help Irish firms to land deals with companies in the Middle East and showcase the high-quality innovative products and services produced by our indigenous enterprises," he said.

Mr O'Keeffe said the trip will also help develop political, economic and commercial ties between Ireland and the two countries.

Representatives from Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will be on the trip to see the challenges faced by Irish firms there, according to the minister.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan will also travel with the delegation to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia before moving on to Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

The Irish companies are from the construction, engineering, information communications technology, education, finance and consulting sectors.

The Government's plan to promote overseas trade identified the Gulf region as an emerging market. Irish exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE totalled 676 million euro last year.

More than 70 Irish firms are doing business in Saudi Arabia and 20 have a full-time market presence in the country.

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