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Minister Humphreys meets with Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mr Steven Ciobo

Ms Heather Humphreys`, T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation today, held bilateral discussions on a range of trade and investment issues with the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mr Steven Ciobo MP. Their discussion focused on bilateral and multilateral trade issues, including negotiations for an EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement which were recently launched by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom with her Australian counterpart, as well as Brexit. The Minister also joined Minister Ciobo for his engagements with Combilift at their new global headquarters and manufacturing facility in Monaghan.

Minister Humphreys stressed that: “Ireland values our strong relationship with Australia, as we are both open and dynamic economies which rely on international trade and investment for success. I am pleased that the EU’s negotiations with Australia have begun, with the opening round taking place earlier this month, and hope that a mutually beneficial and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement can be agreed quickly. Such an Agreement will complement the suite of existing Free Trade Agreements the EU has in place, including the recently agreed EU-Japan Economic Partnership as well as Agreements with Singapore and Mexico.”

The EU’s trade agreements are very important for Ireland by opening new markets for Irish firm’s goods and services and increasing export and investment opportunities. Minister Humphreys added: “Building new market opportunities is a vital part of Ireland’s strategy for further trade diversification and the development of strong trading relationships across the globe, which has come into sharper focus in light of the potential impacts of Brexit”. The Minister added: “The EU’s suite of trade agreements, which will hopefully be added to by ones with Australia and New Zealand, in due course, offer significant trade and investment opportunities for businesses in Ireland through increased market access, reduced tariffs and administrative simplification for exporters”.

Both Ministers also took the opportunity to exchange views on current global trade challenges including trade relations with the US and China as well as the issue of WTO reform. 

In addition, Minister Humphreys highlighted that in the Brexit negotiations, the Irish border is not just about trade, but about people’s daily lives and about the peace on the island of Ireland that must be protected in all of its aspects. 

The Ministers met with Martin McVicar, Managing Director of Combilift on a tour of the company’s new global headquarters and manufacturing facility. “From their base in Monaghan, Combilift has achieved global recognition, and represents the best of Irish engineering excellence. The Irish engineering sector has undergone significant transformation in the past decade, moving from a domestically focused sector to an export focused sector with companies such as Combilift leading the way”, noted the Minister, adding: “I hope today’s meeting opens further opportunities for Combilift, and other Irish companies, to grow and deepen trade and investment relationships with Australia”. 


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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