Minister Cowen to visit Singapore and Malaysia
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen T.D. will visit Singapore and Malaysia from 5-12 January.
While in Singapore, the Minister will have a number of high-level bilateral meetings, including with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Trade & Industry Minister.
The Minister will also deliver the keynote address to delegates at a business breakfast hosted by the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. He will also meet with members of the Irish community as well as Singaporean business contacts.
In Malaysia, the Minister will meet with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister as well as members of the Irish community and local business leaders, including the Board Members of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.
Both Singapore and Malaysia are key trading partners for Ireland offering potential for further growth across a range of sectors from IT and electronics to food and beverage exports and education services.
In announcing the visit, the Minister emphasized that:
“My visit to Singapore and Malaysia presents a timely and useful opportunity for high level political and economic contact with key political and economic leaders in this region which is of growing political and economic importance. We remain strongly committed to using the diplomatic network in the region to build long-term relationships with Asia and to supporting the continued growth of Irish exports to the region.”
Note for Editors:
This will be the Minister's first visit to Singapore and Malaysia and the programme will be business oriented, reflecting the primary focus of the Asia Strategy, which was launched after the Taoiseach's very successful trade mission to China in September 1998. Since that time, Irish exports to the region have grown by 140%.
Singapore is a strategic hub for the ASEAN region and is host to a growing number of Irish companies who have established regional offices and joint ventures. Irish exports to Singapore were valued at 641m in 2001 making it the 11th largest market for Irish exports.
Malaysia is Ireland's most important market in the ASEAN countries and the second most important market in Asia with exports of 1.14 billion in 2001 - a year-on-year increase of 51%. Total two-way trade stood at 1.7 billion in 2001.
The Minister will be present at the signature of co-operation agreements between the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland and the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers. These agreements are part of an effort by the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland to develop links with business organizations in the region to support Irish exporters to the region.