Published: Thu, 22 September 2016
Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly will address a high-level meeting on EU trade policy taking place in Bratislava, Slovakia today (Thursday).
Mr Kelly, Ireland’s only member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, will focus on how trade policy can best deliver for small to medium sized businesses in the EU.
“In Ireland, SMEs provide almost all private sector employment and truly are the driving force of our economy. Irish companies have become expert exporters of quality Irish goods to Europe and beyond and ensuring that those firms can continue to expand and seek out new markets is essential to create more jobs and keep the economy on track,” Mr Kelly said ahead of today’s meeting.
“There are other major trade considerations for the future too. The planned exit by the UK from the EU is a grave concern for Irish SMEs as the UK is our largest trading partner in the Union. The consequences of a Brexit and ensuring Ireland can continue to trade with its neighbour in any eventuality is the foremost issue for Irish exporters right now.
“There’s about €1 billion per week in two-way trade in goods and services between Ireland and the UK and both sides are dependent on that business, so both the UK and Ireland will want that trade to continue.”
MEP Kelly will raise those concerns and explain the current situation for Irish exporters today as a panellist on the “EU trade policy and small businesses – threat or opportunity for small businesses and workers?” session at the conference on EU trade agreements.
EU trade ministers are also due to meet in Bratislava tomorrow (Friday), where they are expected to discuss the EU-Canada trade deal and ongoing talks between the EU and the US aiming to establish a trade agreement and much more.