The Irish Exporters Association’s Latin America Trade Forum (LATF) is being launched by Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, this morning.
Based at the offices of the Irish Exporters Association, the new forum will be a resource to Irish businesses interested in developing trade with Latin America. It will bring together Irish companies, industry organisations, State agencies as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to foster trade, economic and commercial relations between Ireland and Latin America.
“Latin America offers exciting opportunities for Irish companies as we move forward with our export-driven growth,” said the Minister. “We already have significant interests there, with total trade in goods in 2013 worth €2.4bn, and I am confident that the launch of the Latin America Trade Forum will provide further support to Irish businesses that have an interest in pursuing opportunities in this dynamic part of the world.
“The Government’s recent decision to open a Consulate General of Ireland in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s business and industry centre, reflects the value of the work of our diplomatic network in building trade and economic relationships in key emerging markets. I know that our trading and other relations with the countries of Latin America will continue to go from strength to strength.”
The LATF is supported by Arthur Cox, Digicel Group, Fexco, Fyffes, KPMG, and World Courier.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will work closely with the LATF promoting links with the Latin American region.
With 33 countries, a GDP of US$5.5trn and a combined market of 600 million people, the Latin America and Caribbean region is considered strongly developing, increasingly prosperous and stable. Almost all of the economies of the region have returned to positive growth, with two thirds of them growing at rates above 3pc between 2010 and 2012. Economic growth in the region was about 3pc in 2013 with a similar level expected in 2014.
Ireland already has significant economic interests in Latin America, including exports last year totally €1.3bn. Ireland’s top five trading partners in the region are: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
President Michael D Higgins, accompanied Minister Costello, made successful visits to Chile, Brazil and Argentina in 2012 and to Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica in 2013.