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Ireland sends loads of fizzy drink concentrate to Iran

Enterprise Ireland has decided to organise a visit to the country next year.

The Moriarty Tribunal The Health Minister is also partial to an Irish fizzy orange. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

DURING 2013, IRELAND exported €57 million worth of products to Iran.

The majority of the items were either soft drink concentrate or pharmaceutical materials.

It is not a significant amount of trade – and imports from Iran are only worth €1 million annually (most of which is fruit and vegetables). The lack of exports and imports are due to tough EU sanctions that limit the relationship between the two countries.

However, with some talk of an easing of conditions, Ireland is looking for possible opportunities in Iran.

Enterprise Ireland has previously not considered Iran a focus market, concentrating efforts in other areas of the Middle East.

However, with the current shifting, Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton has said there will be an exploratory visit next year – the first since 2007.

The news comes with a warning though.

“Commercial conditions currently remain quite adverse and most international banks will not offer standard financial tools to facilitate trade with Iran,” Bruton told Caoimhghí Ó Caoláin in a parliamentary question.

“However, with the possible lifting of some sanctions and in recognition of the potential represented by the Iranian market, Enterprise Ireland are planning to carry out an exploratory visit to the market during the early part of 2015, the first visit by the agency to this market in over 7 years, to investigate opportunities in different sectors.

“Following this visit, a strategy will be put in place as to how best to support those client companies who may want to explore the market further.”

He was also clear that there will be no official trade mission to Iran organised for 2015.

Earlier this year, the government said it had considered reopening Ireland’s embassy in Iran but made a final decision that resources would not allow it.

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said it would cost half a million euro annually to operate. However, he noted that the lifting of trade sanctions could mean the issue would have to be revisited.

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