Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary has said warnings from the Irish Exporters Association about a 2% fall-off in exports in the first half of the year must be met with action from Government.
Deputy Calleary has said there is genuine concern in the sector about the impact the ‘patent cliff’ will have on Irish exports, particularly given that Ireland’s entire recovery strategy is based on an export-led recovery.
He commented, “There are number of issues impacting on Irish exports at the moment, not all of them are within the Government’s control but some are. It’s clear that austerity measures being pursued in other countries in Europe in which we are aiming to sell our goods and services is impacting on the industry and we have long been arguing that there are other countries in Europe who have the space to spend and invest, growing the European economy as a whole and the Government should be encouraging this. However the number of products coming off and to come off patent is also having an impact on our exports.
“There is a serious issue in relation to the so-called ‘patent cliff’ that the Government does not seem to be taking seriously. According to the UN Ireland is the 5th largest exporter of pharmaceuticals in the world. It has been a major source of growth and revenue for many years and the impact of certain medical and pharmaceutical products coming off patent could cost the country dearly.
“The fact that the IEA is pointing to an upturn in the food and drink sector is very important for the country and may help to recover some lost ground arising from the horsemeat issue. However the warning that exports on the whole are not expected to rise for the rest of the year is a cause of concern.
“I am urging Minister Bruton to convene a pre-budget forum with industry leaders next month in an effort to indentify a number of initiatives that can be applied in the budget to lessen the impact of the ‘patent cliff’ and also stimulate the export sector. The Minister also needs to realise that the Government that it cannot rely solely on an export-led recovery and more needs to be done to ease pressure on domestic, small and medium businesses, particularly retailers, and tackle the issues of rates, rents and high energy costs.”