Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins has said that the EU-Japan Trade Agreement is an additional defence against the harmful effects of Brexit on Irish trade and business.
Deputy Collins was commenting after it was announced that the new free trade deal between the EU and Japan is expected to be signed today.
“As uncertainty grows over Brexit, Ireland must seek to diversify its markets away from the United Kingdom to reduce the risks to Irish business.
“As I said following the Dáil debate on Fianna Fáil’s recent PMB on Free Trade, ‘Ireland is an open, global economy that relies on trade between countries to fund its public services, such as health, education, and social protection.’
“This deal, in addition to CETA, and the soon to be concluded TTIP and EU-Mexico deals, provides Ireland with access to some of the world’s largest markets without the challenge of excessive tariffs, if any at all.
“A really important part of the deal with Japan is the particular focus on agriculture and agri-business.
“The Irish beef industry will benefit from this agreement, and following some very hard years for beef farmers, they will welcome access to new, wealthy markets.
“The deal, when approved by the EU Parliament and Dáil Éireann, will remove tariffs for 99% of the goods traded between the EU’s 500 million strong market and Japan.
“Fianna Fáil’s support for free trade agreements of this nature will always be based on a commitment to maintaining Ireland’s high quality standards, and this will not change.
“There will be those on the hard left who will, as per usual, oppose this deal. That’s their prerogative.
“However, they must explain to the Irish people how they will fund the public services they want in our society if we limit the ability of Irish companies to trade on the global markets.
“We cannot sell to ourselves in isolation, and the EU-Japan deal, allows Irish companies to reach a potential market of 127 million people,” concluded Collins.