Published Date: April 20th, 2022
On 22 March, the President of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce Paul Dunne met with Senior Trade Commissioner, Susanne Drisdelle, and Trade Commissioner, Meena Bhullar, at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin to discuss a wide range of topics of interest to our members.
Role of Canada’s Trade Commissioners in Ireland
Canada’s Embassy in Dublin represents Canadian interests in the Republic of Ireland. The
Trade Commissioners work closely with their colleagues at the High Commission of
Canada in the United Kingdom (based in London) to respond to enquiries from Canada on doing business in Northern Ireland.. It should be noted that the ICCC is mandated to cover the full island of Ireland and, as such, we maintain close links to the governments and trade organizations of both Ireland and the UK.
Ms. Drisdelle and Ms. Bhullar contrasted their mission with that of the Irish Government’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA Ireland) and Enterprise Ireland. They provided an overview of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which attracts Canadian companies to Ireland and assists them by providing market intelligence and establishing “quality contacts” – primarily leads or customers for their products and services. While IDA Ireland, by contrast, supports Canadian companies looking to open their offices in Ireland, with the objective of maximizing job creation in Ireland. These two agencies work closely together to support Canadian companies looking to expand into Ireland and, more broadly, into the EU.
Common Travel Area (CTA)
Mr. Dunne and the Trade Commissioners discussed a lesser-known advantage of choosing Ireland as an investment destination. Uniquely among EU countries, Ireland enjoys the benefits of the CTA, which effectively permits visa-free travel between the UK and Ireland and authorizes citizens of each country to live, work, have access to each other’s welfare and health systems and even vote in elections. This broadens the labor pool which, along with the English language and low tax rates, makes Ireland an extremely attractive investment destination in Europe.
CanExport Assistance to SMEs
They also discussed the CanExport program which may be of interest to many of our members. The program provides grants of up to $50,000 to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), defined as having up to 500 employees and between CAD$100,000-$100m in revenues, for export development expenses under the categories of travel, trade events, marketing, interpretation, contract assistance, tax and legal advice and more. On this topic, the Chamber intends to go into greater depth later this year by publishing an article on it for our members.
Mr. Dunne said: “Overall, this was an excellent and very productive meeting at the Canadian Embassy. The trade commissioners are very aware of our role as a Chamber, appreciative of our contribution to the trade relations between Ireland and Canada, and ready to support us in many of our activities. I wish to thank them for the time they took to meet with us – the intention is to arrange similar meetings with them again in the future, as well as other organizations and individuals who can help advance the endeavors of our members.”