Cork Chamber and the British Embassy in Ireland have this morning launched a joint report: ‘Joining the Dots – Promoting Economic Opportunity between the UK and South West Ireland’ and agreed a programme of work to drive closer business and academic links.

Among the key findings of the report are:
93% of survey respondents envisage future potential for expanded collaboration between the UK and Ireland
Scope for increasing awareness about the scale and diversity of both the UK economy and the economy in South West Ireland
International Financial Services and ICT are highlighted as prime sectors to forge closer business links

The report also sets out a joint British Embassy-Cork Chamber action plan covering the 2018-2020 period, which will drive future collaboration and economic growth between the South West and the UK.

A UK delegation with representatives from the Midlands, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Wales attended a launch event in the River Lee Hotel, Cork City today to explore new business links and opportunities for collaboration.

During the event, a panel of experts representing different sectors and projects presented best-practice experience in joint UK-Ireland initiatives.

A second panel discussed smart growth agendas and strong regional economic development strategies.

Attending the launch as key note speaker, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD, said:
“I commend the approach of Cork Chamber and the British Embassy in Ireland towards promoting more impactful collaboration, so the future Irish-British trading relationship remains a positive one. The Irish Government has a strong agenda for regional growth under which the Southern Region is targeted for the creation of 200,000 new jobs in high performing sectors such as financial services, ICT and agri-food. The importance of the trading relationship between Ireland and the UK cannot be understated. Raising awareness about market opportunities within the regions of our closest neighbour continues to be important to create additional jobs growth and prosperity in both South West Ireland and the UK.”

The British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett, commented:
“The relationship between Cork and the South West of Ireland and the UK goes deeper than trade and business. It also centres around people and our close historical, cultural and sporting connections. With the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall earlier this year and the appointment of the first ever British Honorary Prosperity Consul based in Cork, we continue to strengthen our ties with this exciting region. We look forward to working closely with Cork Chamber and a wide range of regional stakeholders on implementing the report’s recommendations to promote mutual future growth and prosperity and to support the Irish Government’s strategy for developing the South West of Ireland contained in Project Ireland 2040.”

Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO, added:
“Ireland and the UK have developed intrinsic trading and business links through years of shared history, culture and vision. For many Chamber members, UK clients and business partners are part of everyday life. Against a backdrop of geopolitical change and uncertainty regarding the nature of free trade agreements, it is important that we protect and enhance current relationships. This report sets out the excellent potential that exists to develop closer collaboration between UK and the South West region to drive new economic growth in both regions. With Cork set to become Ireland’s fastest growing city region and our population set to double, we look forward deliver on the recommendations of this report and scale economic output.”

The programme of work between the Embassy and the Chamber includes:

Sector focused exchanges, particularly on financial services and trade with longer term focus on agri-food, construction and smart cities.
Missions between the South West and the UK.
A focus on Manchester City, Liverpool, North Wales, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, South Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The full report can be read here.

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