Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English is this week in Nairobi, Kenya for 4 days, representing Ireland at the World Trade Organisation talks, and a related meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council.
Minister English is the first Irish Minister to visit Kenya following the opening of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi in 2014. Ireland’s Ambassador is Dr Vincent O Neill. While in Nairobi, in addition to attending the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Minister English will meet the Irish community in Kenya, Irish and International NGOs, visit projects supported by the Irish Aid programme and facilitate contacts between Irish and Kenyan Business organisations and companies.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It has 162 members, with 2 new members, Afghanistan and Liberia acceding to membership at the talks this week. The WTO accounts for about 95% of world trade. Over 20 other countries are negotiating membership. The WTO agreements are negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
Speaking before his departure, Minister English stated: “This week in Nairobi, from an Irish perspective, we hope to see advancement on a key element of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO. We will be working towards the conclusion of an important Sectoral Agreements namely the Information Technology Agreement and progress on the Environmental Goods Agreement. These are important sectoral trade deals for Ireland and Irish based firms in the technology sector stand to gain by tariff reductions. “