Tánaiste agrees trade pact with Russia

THE TÁNAISTE and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore yesterday concluded an official visit to Russia with the signing of an agreement aimed at improving trade and economic co-operation between Ireland and Russia.

Under the agreement, the Government envisages a higher level of engagement between Government departments and State agencies and their Russian counterparts.

“The agreements signed with our Russian partners provide a comprehensive platform for increased trade between the two countries,” Mr Gilmore said. “It is clear that that there is potential to increase exports from Ireland to Russia in key sectors such as education, agriculture, transport, energy and information technology. By taking advantage of the opportunities that exist and playing to our strengths, we can deliver the export-led growth needed to bring about recovery in Ireland’s economy.”

The Tánaiste had earlier signed a partnership agreement with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the context of EU-Russia co-operation and Russia’s forthcoming accession to the World Trade Organisation. The two also discussed developments in the Middle East and areas of shared interest arising in the context of Ireland’s upcoming chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Mr Gilmore said his visit had been “very constructive, productive, and timely”.

Russian media reported that the two ministers also discussed moves towards visa-free travel between Russia and the EU.

Mr Gilmore stated Ireland was reviewing its visa arrangements with a view to making it easier for Russian citizens and citizens of other countries who want to do business in Ireland to secure visas.

According to Russian media reports, Mr Lavrov assured Mr Gilmore that Russia will “actively support” Ireland when it takes the helm of the OSCE in January.

The Tánaiste met members of the Global Irish Network. In an address to representatives of Irish companies operating in Russia and their Russian counterparts, he spoke of the “many opportunities” for Russian companies do business in Ireland in sectors including ICT, energy, aviation, engineering, pharmaceuticals, education and training, and research and development.

Mr Gilmore rounded off his visit by launching “Education in Ireland”, the new umbrella brand for marketing the Irish higher-education and English-language sectors to international students, at an event at the Embassy in Moscow yesterday.

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