Ireland’s exports to Asia Pacific has the potential to treble in the next decade, according to a leading expert on the region.

Martin Murray, Executive Director of Asia Matter’s, Ireland’s only think tank on Asia, said that given the economic and wealth expansion currently being witnessed in the region, he would be very optimistic about growth prospects for Ireland.

Addressing the Enterprise Ireland Cathay Pacific Routes to Growth Asia Pacific conference in Dublin,Mr Murray said that he expected that Ireland should be able to grow its exports to Asia from a current level of 8.5% of total exports to 25%. He said, however, that exporters needed to diversify beyond China and the food sector.

Mr Murray said: “At present the Asia Pacific region has 60% of world consumers and 40% of wealth. It is obvious that this is where we should and will be targeting our growth in the coming decade.”

“There are great opportunities for Irish manufacturers and businesses in Asia Pacific. At the moment, 18.5% of all exports from Enterprise Ireland clients are sold to Asia Pacific consumers and I believe that will reach 30% within a decade. This will also reconfigure the balance in Ireland’s exports to the region which currently comprise 80% from the multinational corporation sector.”

The Executive Director said that a major challenge for Irish companies is the lack of awareness of Ireland. He said this issue was being tackled by the expansion of Ireland’s Government footprint in the region and Enterprise Ireland’s branding campaign, “The Irish Advantage,” which is aimed at matching international customers with Irish exporters.

Mr Murray added: “Both at country and company level, Ireland needs to revise our model of global business and focus on Asia. Asia will soon have 50% of Global GDP and 75% of Global Consumers. From 2030 to 2050, four countries will compete to be world’s largest economy: China, India, Indonesia and US.

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