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Remarks by the Taoiseach at launch of Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy - New Thinking


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is a very important day for the future of our economy as the Government launches our new integrated strategy for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

My colleagues will also be speaking to you shortly about their respective areas of responsibility.

By way of introduction, I want to say a few words about the New Thinking that our country needs.

To recover from the current unprecedented economic crisis, we need New Thinking about our country and her place in the world.

We need to understand how the world has changed.

In the past, we benefited from close links and a common language with our key trading partners, the United States and Britain. Between them, they were in many ways the richest and most powerful countries in the world for most of the last two centuries.

The 21st century will see new powers emerging - Brazil, Russia, India, China, in the Middle East and Africa.

The United States, Britain and Europe will remain key trading partners but we must seize the huge extra opportunities offered by other, newer markets.

This strategy is based on an in-depth analysis of the changing world and it is aimed precisely at those new opportunities.

We need to understand how Ireland has changed.

We are a major trading nation, with annual exports of over 150 billion euros last year.

We are big players in a range of important global industries - food, tourism, electronics, life sciences, construction and engineering, financial and business services, software and retail consumer products.

We are major investors abroad, as well as a major location for incoming investment - for example Irish companies employ almost as many people in the US as American companies employ here. That overseas investment by Irish people provides opportunities to generate income at home, and also to build international networks and skills that can help Irish industry succeed abroad.

As a people, we have huge talents and we have shown that by our successes in business, in trade and in culture across the globe.




We can be creative and innovative.
We have proved that time and time again.
We will prove it again the years ahead.

The diaspora is a huge and willing resource which the Government is working very actively with, following on from the Global Irish Forum last year.

And Ireland also now has a large and talented immigrant community, who have enriched our national life. This strategy proposes that we use that resource to help us build up trade and investment with their home countries.

Our culture is a massive asset which we must nurture and promote - and we are very active in doing that in new and imaginative ways.

We need new thinking in how we work together, at home and abroad.

The new Foreign Trade Council will bring together all of our activities in a fully integrated fashion at home, while in each country the local Irish Ambassador will prepare an annual local market plan each year.
There will be more high level trade missions, backed up by more intensive official engagement to develop bilateral trading links - for example through the greater use of Joint Economic Commissions with Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia and China.

The new visa regime which we are introducing for students is an important initiative and this strategy provides for further action to ensure that we help people who want to work and invest here.

We need new thinking in our education system.

Maths, science and technology will continue to be a priority. We will also re-orient our education system, at all levels, to reflect the changing world. That will mean greater focus on languages, culture and history of emerging nations.

My announcement yesterday on the development of the Confucius Institute in UCD is a very good example of what we are doing.

We also need to develop our international education links - the new International Education Action Plan which I launched last week will ensure that happens.

This Strategy is about translating New Thinking into Action.

The Strategy itself sets out in detail our recent performance and the outlook to 2015.

It sets out the opportunities we will seize, to grow our trade, tourism and investment in order to create jobs for our people.

Its sets out detailed priorities and targets and it specifies the concrete actions needs to meet them.

It is optimistic about our strengths, but it is clear-eyed about the challenges that need to be addressed.

It is about re-imagining Ireland's place in a rapidly changing world and building a successful future for our children.