Canadian Ambassador to Ireland briefs Irish Exporters on Market Diversification & Business Opportunities

Irish Exporters Association’s Markets Network initiative in association with DHL Express, TransferMate and Bord Bia

Cork, 22nd October 2018: The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) in association with DHL Express, TransferMate and Bord Bia, this morning held the third in a series of market-focused events for 2018 with an event titled: Market Diversification & Business Opportunities – A Focus on Canada.

The IEA Markets Network is made up of a series of seminars, training workshops, webinars and market focused content which will be issued to IEA members to support their international growth and development strategies. This morning’s seminar took place at the offices of McAfee Security in Cork with over 40 attendees from the export industry being briefed on the opportunities to grow new and expand existing trading relationships with Canada and how Irish businesses can benefit from the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). The event included: an opening address from Kevin Vickers, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland who highlighted opportunities for Irish companies in Canada; industry case studies from Midleton Distillery and Hovione; and in-market expertise from DHL Express and TransferMate.

Opening address

  • Kevin Vickers, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland, Embassy of Canada

Case studies

  • Paul Wickham, General Manager, Midleton Distillery, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard
  • Darren Stack, Director of Finance, IT & Supply Chain, Hovione


  • Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association and Chairperson
  • Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director, DHL Express Ireland Limited
  • David Cahill, Account Manager, TransferMate Global Payments
  • Ronnie O’Toole, Honorary Economist, Irish Exporters Association

The IEA Markets Network is aimed at supporting exporters to access overseas market opportunities and educate them to better understand the opportunities and challenges as they explore, enter or expand overseas. The format of events will include knowledge briefings with Irish Ambassador’s overseas and Ambassadors in Ireland, as well as case studies, to provide the export community with insights into business opportunities in specific markets.

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association commented: “Canada has long been a key market for Irish businesses. Exports to Canada increased by more than 16% in 2017 and is expected to grow even more in the coming years once businesses start to fully avail of the full benefits of the new EU-Canada CETA Economic and Free Trade Agreement, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last month.  With a considerable part of Irish-made pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals and beverages destined for the Canadian market, the partnership is becoming more important for our economic growth. With companies looking to actively diversify their markets to mitigate the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union, 16% of IEA members, earlier this year, declared their intention to access the Canadian market in the next 6 months – up from 11% in 2016. The Irish Exporters Association is delighted to partner on this important initiative with DHL Express, Transfermate and Bord Bia and we are particularly pleased to have Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, give the opening address today. The IEA Markets Network is a knowledge sharing network that will help companies to understand the opportunities that lie in new markets, as well as give them practical advice on how to get there.”

Kevin Vickers, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland, commented: “I am delighted to participate in this Markets Networks event by the Irish Exporters Association. It is a great opportunity to further strengthen the close trading relationship between Canada and Ireland. Our countries already have strong trading ties in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agriculture and machinery, and we are optimistic that, with CETA in place, we can attract more Irish companies to trade into Canada.”

Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director, DHL Express Ireland stated: “Canada is a growing export market for DHL Express and in particular we have experienced very strong growth since the implementation of CETA.  So far in 2018 we have registered very strong shipment volume growth but more significantly the number of customers shipping to Canada has increased by 10%.”

David Cahill, Account Manager, TransferMate Global Payments mentioned: “The digital economy has yielded many opportunities for businesses to grow and expand beyond domestic borders, yet the process of receiving payment from overseas customers remains a challenge. TransferMate Global Receivables offers exporters a faster seamless solution for collecting international payments, whilst providing access to highly competitive FX rates, eliminating intermediary fees and resolving reconciliation issues. With the US being a key growth market for TransferMate, we look forward to sharing learnings from our own market entry and how we can aid you in accessing this and other export markets.”

Padraig Brennan, Director of Markets, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board commented: “Canada is a key growth market for Irish food and drink exports with an annual trade value in 2017 of over €100m. The imminent roll out of the Canada EU Trade Agreement (CETA) will put in place an even more favourable trading environment for Irish agri-foods, and indeed serve to bring Ireland and Canada closer together across many export sectors