Export Promotion (Amendment) Bill, 1971: Second Stage.

Tuesday, 30 November 1971

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 257 No. 4

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[728]Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lalor): Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

The main purpose of the Bill is to make provision for further grants to Córas Tráchtala to enable it to continue the work of promoting, assisting and developing exports.

When Córas Tráchtála was first set up, under the Export Promotion Act, 1959, the amount which could be made available to it out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas was limited to £1 million. This statutory limit was raised by subsequent Export Promotion Acts, the most recent of which, in 1969, raised it to £9 million.

The increasing pace of export promotion activities, involving necessary expansion of Córas Tráchtála's aids and services, both in volume and scope, has naturally increased the board's rate of expenditure. Payments to the board by way of grant in aid up to 31st March of this year amounted to £7,611,885, which leaves a balance of £1,388,115 unissued from the existing limit of £9 million. This balance is not sufficient to meet the board's financial requirements up to the end of the present financial year, which amount to £1,754,000.

The Bill proposes to raise to £15 million the limit of the amount of grants which may be made to Córas Tráchtála. The actual grant in aid provision to be made in each financial year out of this amount will, of course, be included in the Vote for my Department which will come before the Dáil in the ordinary way.

The House is already aware of the role played by Córas Tráchtála in the expansion of exports, particularly industrial exports. The aids and services which it provides for exporters cover a wide range, from information, advice and basic market research to specialist services in the fields of market research, design management and so forth, and from incentive grants for individual exporters visiting overseas markets to the organisation of national stands at international [729] trade fairs. These services are kept under constant review to ensure that at any given time the services most urgently needed by exporters are provided in the manner and in the measure which would be most useful so as to make the best use of the funds available to Córas Tráchtála. For instance, the most important trade factor of the current year is the prospect of EEC membership and Córas Tráchtála has already begun its planned campaign in preparation for this. As part of its programme, the board plans to open a new office in Brussels, and later, in Milan, in addition to the offices it already has in Paris and Dusseldorf. This is considered sufficient for the present, since it will be possible to cover the remaining countries of the Six—Holland and Luxembourg—from Brussels.

Expansion and improvement of the board's services to exporters must result in some increase in expenditure. So much depends on continuing expansion of exports that Córas Tráchtála obviously must have adequate funds at its disposal. The figures leave no doubt that the increasing demand by exporters on its services has been matched by a significant growth in exports. Since 1960 the amount of Córas Tráchtála's annual grant-in-aid has increased by about £1½ million and in the same period total exports have increased by £315 million. I do not, of course, assert that Córas Tráchtála is solely responsible for this growth, but I have no doubt it played an important part in it, particularly in the increase in industrial exports. These, in 1970, amounted to almost £250 million, well over 50 per cent of the total exports.

It is with confidence that I recommend provision of an additional £6 million for Córas Tráchtála over the next few years.

The Bill contains one other provision. This is the amendment of section 3 of the Export Promotion (Amendment) Act, 1969 to refer to quantity surveyors as well as architects and engineers. The earlier Act provided power for Córas Tráchtála to extend its export promotion services to cover certain design and planning services in [730] connection with engineering and construction works abroad. There was no intention of excluding quantity surveyors, who are equally concerned with engineers and architects in design and planning services, from benefiting from the help given by Córas Tráchtála and their exclusion was merely an accident of drafting. The present amendment is designed to enable Córas Tráchtála to assist quantity surveyors to the same extent as architects and engineers in the kind of design and planning services which qualify for export tax relief under the Finance Act, 1968.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  This Bill, like many others that come before us, seeks the permission of the House to increase expenditure above the rigid limit permitted by the Oireachtas until today. Fine Gael have no objection to allowing the Government to give increased moneys to Córas Tráchtála for its operations. The measure gives the House an opportunity to consider whether or not Córas Tráchtála should provide the many and varied services that it does provide as a separate entity from the Industrial Development Authority and the Industrial Credit Company. In their report Córas Tráchtála define themselves as an “advisory and promotional body”.

The figure of £1.6 million which they have expended is not an excessive sum when one considers the type of service they provide. They have to deal with promotions, shipping, insurance, the effects of tariffs and taxes as well as the ever-changing position of currencies. Exporters probably need the help of Córas Tráchtála more today than they have ever done in the past.

It is clear from the Minister's speech that he considers the ICC, the IDA and Córas Tráchtála should continue as separate entities in the foreseeable future and as we enter Europe. Before one can hope to secure a grant from the IDA for the production of goods for export, one needs the help of Córas Tráchtála as far as the investigation of the available market is concerned. Similarly, the backing of Córas Tráchtála for the venture and a report on the possible future of the venture are necessary before one can [731] hope to get a loan from the ICC. I do not say these things in any spirit of criticism but merely to suggest that these three bodies, which work in close liaison, be merged. Such a decision would be a far-reaching one which would require detailed examination. This could not be carried out from this side of the House because it would require a mass of civil servants and others to work out whether or not such was a proper procedure. I know there are certain bodies in industry who believe this to be a proper procedure. We should consider whether or not better support for promotions abroad and better support for exports might not be available if these three bodies were restructured.

I wish to refer to various matters relating to the operations of Córas Tráchtála during the year. During the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce I referred to the fact that Córas Tráchtála are opening offices in Brussels and Milan and that they already have offices in Paris and Dusseldorf. It is true that in the time immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Rome when the Minister for Foreign Affairs was Deputy Aiken, the accent on Europe was minimal whereas the accent on foreign affairs activities in America and elsewhere was maximum. I fear we are still operating on a shoestring in Europe, that we are not devoting sufficient attention to the potential there—perhaps our only potential within a few years.

One must remember that the glorious idea of free trade in Europe means something else also, namely, if one continues to set up common external tariffs against goods from abroad, other countries in the world will be affected. In this connection, I would mention the Mills Bill in America which has not yet become law. One can see how important it is that Córas Tráchtála and the other two bodies who did their best for the promotion of industrial exports should make their priorities the continent of Europe and Britain.

I am not satisfied that the opening of two new offices in Brussels and [732] Milan is sufficient. I am aware that not so many years ago our diplomatic representative in Brussels was grossly overworked—I was there as a parliamentarian and I know this to be a fact. The man in question was overworked to such an extent that eventually he had to take a lighter job. I am aware that our activities in Strasbourg up to some five or six years ago were minimal also. I do not think offices in Brussels and Milan are sufficient to meet the need that exists there or for the promotion of exports to Europe. We must remember that the rest of the world may raise their tariffs against the Common Market as that Community is enlarged. As the Common Market becomes stronger it will become more of an irritant to other nations; as countries enter the EEC, America and other nations will not have the same opportunity for their exports.

Is it wise to state that we can carry out operations in Holland from one of our other offices? Is it wise to have only one office in France? I would suggest that neither decision is wise. While individual Members in this House might disagree on the way to carry out this operation, all will agree there is need for the expenditure indicated here for the promotion of industrial exports. Equally, all Members will agree that the people involved are doing their jobs efficiently. Any difference is merely about the way the job might be done or how improvements might be effected.

I should like to refer to the operations of Córas Tráchtála this year in their efforts to get trade behind the Iron Curtain, and the appointment of a marketing representative in Vienna. The appointment of a marketing representative in Vienna is of little consequence and I do not think the House should argue about whether the appointment of one man or the establishment of an office in Vienna will make or break the country. With regard to trade behind the Iron Curtain, my opinion—based on some experience—is that such trade is extremely difficult.

For countries in Eastern Europe trade is largely a matter of the acquisition of currency for purchases for themselves—I would add that such [733] purchases almost certainly will not be made in Ireland. It is true that one can buy certain goods from Iron Curtain countries at cheaper rates than elsewhere but the reason is that hard currency is needed. However, that is not sufficient for us; what we need is a quid pro quo situation whereby if we buy from them they will buy from us. The balance of trade between Ireland and countries behind the Iron Curtain is very bad as far as we are concerned and even if we secured trade as a result of the appointment of a representative in Vienna I do not think the situation will improve to a great extent. That is not to say that we should decry the effort that has been made to secure trade with Eastern Europe, that we should cast it aside, or that we should not have hope for the future. However, the position of our balance of trade with those countries must be stated.

Our efforts to sell capital goods to the Middle East is worthwhile and I think a wise decision has been made in this case. I do not think there is much chance of selling anything else to that area but there are countries rich from royalties in oil who need large quantities of capital goods. It is indicated that the value of such goods is £200,000, with a hope for an increase of £500,000. This amount is tiny but if there is a chance of pursuing this line of activity let us try to do so with vigour.

I have some personal experience of the working of Córas Tráchtála and the people who work in the organisation and of their every effort for our export drive. I have nothing but commendation for them. The money that is being spent is being well spent. I am just drawing attention to an opinion which exists and which is held fairly strongly on the restructuring of our three promotional agencies, our money agency, the Industrial Credit Company, our grant agency, the Industrial Development Authority and our promotional and advisory agency, Córas Tráchtála. We must find out if it is possible to make more use of them and to make more use of the efforts they are making.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  This Bill is non-controversial and it has the support of [734] all of us. We realise that “export or die” is a motto which has absolute relevance for this country because the expansion of employment and the saving of the home market depend on our increasing our export competitiveness. CTT could be described as the front line State agency in the matter of seeking new export markets. Their assistance to home based industries is essential if they are to find new export outlets.

Irish industry has not been very interested in export outlets in past years. Up to quite recently industry was pampered with an excess of protectionism which meant that you relied on the home market for an easy living and, if you raised your eyes at all to the outside world, you did not have to look beyond the Irish Sea to the British market. Nowadays the position in all markets is far different. Even on the home market industry is facing very stiff competition indeed. The home market can no longer be regarded as the secure and safe market it was, say, ten years ago. Industry must be competitive to survive and to survice it needs more export outlets and new export markets leading to an improvement in design and so on to enable us at another remove to hold on to the home market and enable us to expand our industrial base so as to give fresh employment.

Deputy Donegan referred to the necessity for some closer liaison, unspecified, between the various State agencies, the IDA, the Credit Company and CTT. Most ideally that closer liaison should be between the Department of Foreign Affairs and CTT. The Minister talked about opening up two offices, one in Brussels and one in Milan, in addition to the offices already opened in Paris and Dusseldorf. We have other embassies in Europe and I see nothing wrong with assigning a CTT official to each of those embassies. Wherever we have an embassy we should have a full-time CTT officer. We would not have to buy new premises. We could utilise the premises we have.

Our criticism of the Department of Foreign Affairs in past years was in regard to their aloofness from the mundane subject of seeking new trade [735] export markets. This would seem to be an ideal way of bridging the gap which formerly existed in the Department of Foreign Affairs in the matter of looking for extra trade. Willy-nilly officials of the Department are involved in one way or another with the development of export possibilities in their areas. There is a CTT office in San Francisco but the official from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the consular office is also involved, even if only marginally, in trade matters. I would suggest that we should try to discover how we could get closer liaison between that Department and CTT, between the State agency looking for new markets and our embassies in these areas. This seems to be a co-ordination which is called for.

There is no reference to a CTT office being opened in Africa and yet we have an embassy in Lagos. Why not have a CTT office in that embassy? Nigeria is a vast African country with growing trade prospects. The Minister has visited what has been referred to as somewhere east of the Iron Curtain. I do not know if that phrase is applicable any longer, with the European Security Conference looming up. I should like some information from the Minister on the results of his missions, these Ian Fleming visits of his, to Prague and other places east of the Iron Curtain. What may we expect as a result of those visits? Extra trade? What was the point of those visits? Who did he meet and has he any encouraging news for the House?

It is no secret that the Department of Foreign Affairs are planning closer liaison with this area with the opening of an embassy or a consulate in Moscow or in Warsaw. It would seem to me that CTT should be working in close liaison with the Department if such a development is in sight. They should be considering moving into that area and opening up a full-time office. There is the old British imperial idea of trade following the flag but our trade should follow any country in which we have embassy status. It has been pointed out that the balance of trade situation between ourselves and [736] the Communist countries is very adverse to our interests. We should do everything in our power to level up that adverse balance.

CTT work against a climate of lack of interest on the part of Irish industry, it must be said, in the prospect of expanding export markets. In addition to their many faults, which have been commented on many times over the years, Irish management have never been market-orientated. I suppose any management or business structure coming out of a protectionist era cannot be expected to acquire export consciousness for some period, but the trouble is that we cannot wait for the passage of time. Developments in the outside world are rushing ahead at a very rapid pace indeed. Irish management, still awaking from their protectionist slumbers, are not up to the job and are not aware of the urgency of the task before them in looking for new markets. Whether they are production orientated is another question but certainly they are not market orientated. While the first task of CTT is to look for markets abroad, they must also be aware of this problem which faces them on the home front.

It is useless for a CTT official to draw up a contract in a foreign city if he then finds that the home industry on which he is depending to fulfil the order is falling down on the schedule of orders. Unfortunately this happens very frequently. It must be said, unhappily, that in certain international quarters Irish business life has a very bad reputation as regards punctuality of schedule of delivery and so on. You do not hold a new market if the order is not filled on time and on the date specified. Unfortunately, this has been the experience and I am thinking especially of the United States.

I do not know whether CTT have already considered this problem or whether, in fact, it exists as a problem but I think CTT must be on the lookout continuously for men for their marketing force abroad who have proved their worth in industry. In other words, I do not think there should be any age barrier for recruitment to CTT; possibly there is not. I am sure of this. I would suggest that [737] people who are specialists in seeking and acquiring new markets are rare and exceptional. The salary for such people should be in accordance with the results achieved. There should be no Civil Service ceiling on the salary scales paid to the man who proves his worth in this difficult task of gaining new markets for Irish industry. A new foreign market gained for an Irish industry spells many new jobs at home. I do not think that people who have this expertise can be overpaid. I think it is impossible to overpay them so important is their work.

Unfortunately there is still a lack of interest on the part of industry in the whole question of the gaining and conquest of new markets. Unfortunately the idea still exists that this is not quite as essential as politicians seem to think. We should inaugurate —at least I am not aware of its existence so far—some scheme of prizes or awards for exporters. Perhaps we have one at the moment. If so, it is not very well publicised, because I am not aware of any interest in Irish industry or of any publicity being given to this. We should attempt to demonstrate imaginatively the importance of gaining new markets for Irish industry. I do not think we are adequately pushing this message home in Irish industry at present. If it has not already been done, I would suggest the institution of an annual award to be made to different sectors of industry with particular emphasis on small or medium-size firms, because possibly it is there we have most work to do. CTT have done their utmost to get firms in a particular section of industry to group together in seeking new markets for their products. I know CTT have done this with a certain amount of success.

With the increasing free trade and competition to which we are subject the home market will not be so secure in the future as in the past. One of the factors which contribute to the difficulty in getting Irish management interested in export markets is the language barrier. I am thinking especially of the European market.

[738] This is the ridiculous legacy of refusing to educate boys in our secondary schools up to quite recently in any of the European languages. The result is that there are many Irish managers who in their secondary or university education have no training in the major European languages.

CTT continue their efforts in the North American market. The Nixon levies will affect us adversely there, but it is an important market. On my one or two visits to the United States last year I had occasion to note the solid work done by CTT in New York and other regional offices in America in the matter of increasing our exports to that country. However, in areas where we have no inside knowledge of the market CTT should consider utilising existing marketing agencies. You cannot compete with local knowledge and if it is possible to link up with a local intelligence marketing concern or group that should be done in areas where we have no offices.

In talking about co-ordination I would hope that CTT would preserve close links with the IDA and the Credit Corporation. However, I would consider the greatest priority for CTT is close liaison and consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the various Embassies. I know they have knowledge of one another's work but I would suggest that in every Irish embassy or consular office abroad there should be a CTT official.

The Minister visited Bulgaria this year. I should like to know if, as a result of that visit, our adverse balance with them will be redressed. I also recall that a Rumanian delegation led by their Commerce Minister earlier this year made a short tour of Irish industry. Are there any results from this? Furthermore, we are probably on the eve of setting up diplomatic relations with one or other of these countries, and I hope CTT are keeping a close eye on that development.

While CTT are obviously looking for new markets in many parts of the world where it has the facilities to do so, I would suggest that, in regard to the Shannon Free Airport Development Company and the dangers faced [739] there at present, there should be coordination with CTT on the special problems of that region, which may worsen in the immediate future.

We already have two Foreign Affairs offices in Brussels, and I do not see the point in having another, separate CTT office. We already have an Ambassador to the Community and an Ambassador to Belgium. I hope we do not progress towards the fulfilment of Parkinson's law and have yet another CTT office. We have an Embassy in Paris in a very large central building, ideal for CTT offices and for our purposes. The essential requirement is that we have skilled men paid the right salaries in these areas. This is more important than palatial offices in a few places in the world. The skilled men should be spread as widely as possible in areas capable of development. We should have some trade presence in the Far East, for instance, Japan. This cannot be described as a luxury today for a small island economy with a small industrial base, its home market subject to pretty intense competition, as it will be in the near future. That small economy must put every penny it has into increasing possibilities of export markets abroad. Any money spent on an extensive CTT export operation throughout the world, wherever markets may be found, is well spent.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lalor): Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Deputy Donegan, leading off as spokesman for Fine Gael, agreed that there was a need for the provision of this additional grant aid money for CTT. Deputy O'Leary spoke in support and pointed out that this was a Bill on which there could be general agreement. Both Deputies paid tribute to the efforts of the CTT officials to develop exports. There were conflicting viewpoints with regard to the best method of using the money in order to develop our export trade. Deputy Donegan said that we should endeavour to have closer liaison between the CTT, the IDA and the ICC and stressed the fact that at the present time he was aware of such liaison but wondered if it might not be better to have those three organisations working as one unit. Deputy M. O'Leary said that it was more important that the operatives of [740] CTT abroad should work in closer liaison with the Embassies of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Since I became Minister for Industry and Commerce I have seen the close liaison between the CTT and the IDA, and also the liaison which exists between the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs overseas and the operatives of CTT. When Irish manufacturers or potential exporters travel abroad these bodies know of their journeys. The officials in the Embassies are usually aware of the travelling arrangements of such people. There is also close liaison between the exporters and the CTT representatives abroad.

Deputy Donegan suggested that we should establish offices in Europe as a preparation for making the fullest use of the EEC. Deputy M. O'Leary felt that CTT representatives should be placed in the various legations and criticised the decision of CTT to open an office in Brussels. The Deputy said that that was just opening another office in a city where the Department of Foreign Affairs had already two offices. I disagree with Deputy M. O'Leary's view on this point. CTT must have an office in Brussels, which is the administrative headquarters of the new, greater European area. If CTT were being established now and were looking for a particular city in which to establish an office, Brussels would be the obvious choice, in the light of our entry to the EEC and in order to be able to contact the 250,000,000 consumers within the enlarged Community. The officials of CTT must be able to communicate with the businessmen and the potential buyers within Europe. We must make use of the opportunities available to us. I agree with Deputy Donegan when he says that we should endeavour to have as many operatives as possible spread across Europe. We must consider how we can best spend the money made available to CTT.

Deputy Donegan and Deputy M. O'Leary expressed different views in relation to the advisability of endeavouring to develop our trade with eastern European countries. Deputy Donegan said that CTT were unwise in opening an office in Vienna and in [741] sending a representative there to develop trade with eastern European countries. The Deputy felt that there was no satisfactory quid pro quo arrangement whereby we could sell to the eastern European countries and expand our purchases from them. Our adverse trade balance with these countries is not encouraging, but it should act as an incentive to us to develop business. Any new development will help to close the trade gap which exists.

Deputy M. O'Leary asked whether the efforts made to develop trade with eastern European countries had been successful. The Deputy referred to my visit to Bulgaria some time ago and to the visit here of the Rumanian trade delegation. The Deputy asked whether there was any improvement in trade as a result of these visits. The trade figures for our exports to Bulgaria for 1970 were in the region of £7,000 to £10,000. Following my visit to Bulgaria, which coincided with a trade fair where CTT had a display of our export goods, a trade agreement was completed and orders amounting to £250,000 have been booked to March of next year. These figures show the extremely large increase in trade. Similarly, the trade agreement concluded some time ago with Rumania on the basis of both countries endeavouring to arrange a balance of exchange trade justifies the appointment of representatives of CTT to such areas. There are discussions towards trade agreements going on at the present time with Czechoslovakia, Poland and the USSR. While both Deputies spoke about the advantage that can accrue from CTT endeavouring to improve exports to the Middle East and to Japan the very same argument can be made by way of encouraging Córas Tráchtála to expand our exports into Eastern Europe.

Further progress is already being made in this direction. This is by way of reply to Deputy Donegan's suggestion that we make our priorities almost entirely European at this stage. Let me say that I think this would be a mistake. Deputy Donegan referred to the potential effect of the Mills Bill. We have very sizeable exports to the [742] tune of £60 million a year to the US and good prospects in spite of the present difficulties there. There are reasonable prospects arising for developing an export trade to Japan. We have a sufficiency of imports from that country and there should be some articles that we can export to them.

I stated in my opening remarks that great progress has been made by Córas Tráchtála with the co-operation of industry in the expansion of our exports. We should not be too critical of our manufacturers here. Deputy M. O'Leary was rather critical about the failure of some of our manufacturers to be able to meet delivery dates. I appreciate that there are problems in this regard but they are in the context of endeavouring to build up goodwill between manufacturer and potential customer overseas. There is the necessity for the manufacturer to ensure that the delivery deadline is met and I think, overall, we do not have too many failures of this nature.

One of the complaints which is most often mentioned to me by home purchasers, that is the distributors of our produce here, is that they are very often held up in deliveries because the manufacturer neglects the home market in order to meet the export deadline. This is very often said to me at functions following my appeal to the general public to concentrate on giving full backing to Irish manufacturers by buying goods made in Ireland, particularly those for which there is a market abroad. When I am told by a home distributor that the manufacturer has been unable to meet his order because of the necessity to meet his export deadline, I find it extremely difficult to know what to advise. Deputy Donegan said that it was most essential that the time schedule in relation to exports be complied with.

Deputy M. O'Leary spoke about recognising the small manufacturer for his achievements in the export field. I should like to remind the Deputy in this regard that over the past couple of years we have had export award schemes. No fewer than five awards are allocated each year and one of those awards is reserved for a small industry. I do not think this is as [743] sufficiently appreciated as it might be but, certainly, there are quite a number of manufacturers who do not seem to have as much meas on this award as they might have. This award is meant to be a recognition of work well done by those manufacturers and I hope as a result of this debate here that further interest will be shown in it. Awards, such as a plaque, a medal or a token of some type is an appreciation of the State's recognition of the efforts of manufacturers. The manufacturer is free to project on his literature that he is an award winner in this regard.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Could the Minister say in relation to the award to the manufacturer if there is any similar award to employees? Would this help in publicising this award which I am afraid is not given a great deal of publicity at present? Surely the employees who take part in the success of an export firm should be similarly awarded?

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Let us be practical about this. While all of the team within an industry are part and parcel of the effort that has won this award if I were to try to devise a scheme whereby a replica of the award that is presented to the management, arising out of the success of the firm, had to be presented to every one of the 20 in a small firm or 500 in a larger firm I do not think it would serve any useful purpose.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  The Minister would not find any difficulty in getting a group of employees to nominate one of their number to receive the award on their behalf. This would be an imaginative way of including them in the award.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  I will bear in mind what the Deputy has said because this had not struck me before. Apart from export awards there are design awards and I have found in the presentation of those awards there have been workers' representatives for the presentation. I can certainly look into that aspect of the matter.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  The Minister [744] would find trade unions interested in that aspect of it.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Both Deputies mentioned liaison with our embassies abroad. Córas Tráchtála, in whatever country they have an office, keep in close contact with the Irish Embassy in that country and the embassies, from the information available to me, give a great deal of assistance and help to the personnel of Córas Tráchtála and to individual exporters. We must appreciate the fact that the embassies have other functions than trade and it does not follow that there are enough trade prospects everywhere to justify putting a CTT man into all the embassies. As well as that, mixing business with straightforward diplomacy might not always be the best way of doing business. From my point of view I can see difficulty in that regard. I am all in favour of working in harmony. My personal experience of those in various embassies is that they are always extremely helpful but when you want to get details which a potential purchaser needs from a potential exporter, this is where the various embassies can put the potential purchaser in contact with the CTT man. There is close liaison all round, as far as I know.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  There should be no problem in working in the one building.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  We have no tremendous problems in that regard. Take Washington and New York where Foreign Affairs have their offices. The diplomatic headquarters in a city do not always coincide with the commercial centre and I do not think that placing a trade office in diplomatic centres in world capitals would be the ideal thing.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  I am not suggesting that the ambassador should live in the basement or the attic. His residence could be separate but I do suggest that in all cases where we have State agencies of different kinds we should, as far as possible, bring them all under the one roof, from Bord Fáilte to CTT, to the embassy.

[745]Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  I can go quite a distance with the Deputy in regard to Bord Fáilte, CTT and various industrial agencies, but in my limited experience of foreign travel the embassy seems to be always in a particular part of the city which is not the trade centre. If we wish to develop our export market it is to our advantage to try to get into the business centre of any city with that office even if it costs somewhat more in the business centre as it normally does. I disagree with the Deputy on that point.

I think it was Deputy O'Leary who spoke about CTT salaries. CTT are completely autonomous as regards fixing salaries. I do not think they have an age limit on the staff they recruit. They are looking for the best they can get. From my experience of representatives of CTT whom I have met I want to say that I think they are extremely good.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Hear, hear.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Deputy O'Leary mentioned the language difficulties exporters may have. CTT are quite conscious of the requirements here and have tried to lay on courses and encourage manufacturers and potential exporters to learn or get their representatives to learn languages. They have not been very successful so far but I expect, with the prospect of EEC membership around the corner, there will be more awareness in this regard and that any further courses sponsored by CTT will be better availed of.

It was also said that CTT should try to use selling agencies abroad. They do this to the fullest possible extent. Both speakers suggested that we should encourage the development of trade with the Middle East. This is being done. There are difficulties for CTT in this. It is a part of the world where we have not Foreign Affairs representation and this creates problems which are at present being tackled with a view to making use of any opportunities open to us. I have endeavoured to cover the points raised to the best of my ability. I think there is general agreement with the Bill and I welcome the reception given to this [746] provision of £6 million extra for export business for CTT.

Question put and agreed to.

Agreed to take remaining stages today.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Chair draws the attention of the House, before the Committee Stage, to the fact that in page 2, line 7 the words “TO BE ENACTED” should read “BE IT ENACTED”.


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