Bilateral trade between India and Ireland in the past amounted to €5.5 billion and now Ireland aims to further strengthen bilateral trade ties with India.

How are the trade relations between the two countries? And how do companies from both countries contribute to boosting GDP?

At present, trade relations between Ireland and India are modest. The main reason I think is the gap between awareness and action and we are making sure we solve this biggest challenge. Although, we have some Indian companies that have invested in Ireland on a significant scale as a footprint within the European Union. One of the Tata Group companies in North West Ireland employs over 1,300 people, one of the largest suppliers in the region. Likewise, we have Irish companies investing here in India. This indicates and confirms that steps have been taken between our two economies to promote greater connectivity in our businesses. Our role as a development agency is to encourage more of the businesses in the way we want to see more Indian business activity in Ireland, and we want more Irish business activity in India. This is only possible by creating awareness on both sides about what the opportunity is. Ireland has been a member of the European Union since 1973. We comply with all regulatory and other aspects of market access. So an Indian company founding Ireland, an immediate market of 300 million people in stores, plus access to over 1500 multinational companies based in Ireland. This reflects our ability to be a great international first step for ambitious Indian companies looking to go global. In addition, India, which is a huge market and such a fast-growing economy, offers opportunities for Irish companies in various sectors such as aerospace, education, life sciences and fintech. And I think there are certain niche areas where Ireland can support the development of the Indian economy by providing compelling, innovative solutions based on technology that can help an Indian company be more efficient, help Indian companies make money and help businesses save on their production, and of course earn more money with it.

What are some of the key sectors that Ireland is targeting, especially with regard to India?

By combining all our activities from the past years, education has certainly been a cornerstone. And it is very important because it builds a bridge between Ireland and India, through our young people who go from India to Ireland to study third level, and in many cases go on to study for PhD studies and fourth level research. This is an activity that counts about 5000 students every year and creates a great future connection between our two countries. That’s because of the students; some will stay in Ireland and work in Ireland. We’ve already seen that where the Indian executives come back to work and bring their operations from Ireland to India. We are actually creating jobs and commercial connections because we see the potential in Indians. Furthermore, we also see Indian students who continue their international career in Ireland, come back to work here and bring that experience and knowledge to Indian companies. Other important sectors are the life sciences. The significant level of investment in life sciences here in India has created opportunities for Irish companies. We have quite a few companies that produce medical devices, innovation in primary health care and all those companies have the potential to do business here. I think the pandemic has certainly enabled us to create some of those connections through the supply of respiratory systems to India, the supply of clean air systems to the healthcare sector, industry and others. I believe this is a good start to build a bridge that will make further connections in those areas.

You just said that education is one of the most important sectors for Ireland and India. How do the countries benefit from increasing the sustainability of cultures, ideas and trade relations through education and student exchange?

I am convinced that people in Ireland and India are our most important assets. And together we can develop people who are well-educated, well-educated, flexible, internationally diverse and multilingual and make them an even greater asset to the country. Ireland has traditionally invested in the education system, enabling it to produce a highly skilled workforce, which is crucial for us to remain competitive internationally. I think the same goes for India. When you think of education, we have now moved from traditional forms of education to using technology to teach. This has a progressive future and has already witnessed a huge growth area in India. In my view this will only grow and Ireland has a role to play in that as we have a lot of experience in harnessing technology for education. And I think that kind of partnership will also be an opportunity to create this link between what education means for both of our economies.

Mr Robert Troy was here last week. How will this affect bilateral relations?

This goes back to what I said earlier, that I think we need to work on creating more awareness and understanding. Minister Troy came here with the opportunity to raise awareness of Ireland in a week when we both celebrate national holidays. St Patrick’s Week in Ireland is an important week as most of our ministers now travel the world talking about Ireland. Our national holiday is March 17th and here on March 18th, India hosted one of the most important national holidays. So the visit makes it more interesting as both India and Ireland are in a period of national identity and the Minister’s visit here raises Ireland’s profile and created opportunities for him to get a better understanding and bring that back to his own government in terms of encouraging other ministers to travel. By the way, our Deputy Prime Minister is of Indian descent and I know he shows an interest in leading a trade delegation here in the future. Therefore, we see this as a start to return to connecting our two countries after the pandemic.

Sustainable development goals and symbiotic relations of India and Ireland have grown, can you shed some light on that?

The first thing I would say is that Ireland is very much in favor of the Paris Agreement as a multilateral mechanism to drive global climate action. So the whole idea of ​​Ireland putting sustainability at the forefront is really important. In fact, we are active partners in Europe working towards the ambitious goals of 2050.

We remain strongly in favor of regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. This is our signed goal and full alliance with national climate legislation, the Climate Action Plan and the change to low carbon development, all supported by legislation enacted to nullify the country’s legal obligation to reduce our emissions. When contextualized to India, the whole country is an open economy and ready for a sustainable future. In addition, I believe that generations to come will have this accountability for how we have implemented sustainability mechanisms in our economies.

What are some of the solutions companies in India and Ireland are working closely on for a sustainable future?

Coming back to the legislative aspect, we have a strategy in Ireland called Innovation 20, which is sort of a roadmap for priority we have for how science and technology will support the whole field of sustainability.

So for us that kind of should be the anchor. It includes direct coordination with international activities in the fields of energy, climate, sustainable living, sustainable food production, advanced and smart production. In fact, from all these sectors, we have had some companies operating here in India to some extent. For example, when we talk about advanced smart manufacturing, here we have a company that is setting up an office related to the Internet of Things or Industry 4.0, creating technology that can make industrial processes in India more efficient and sustainable. In addition, we also have companies that produce solutions for commercial applications that lower the energy level in the commercial building or office. This can be anything from smart lighting to smart building design, allowing the building itself to contribute to reducing its own carbon footprint.

This post India’s Huge Market, Rapidly Growing Economy Provides Opportunities for Irish Businesses: Conor Fahy, India at Enterprise Ireland

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