Ireland and Canada have strong social ties dating back to the time of the famine. The Irish have been recognised as one of Canada’s founding peoples. 14% of the population claim some Irish ancestry, making the Irish the fourth-largest ethnic group in Canada.
These social ties have led to a long history of trade – Canada is the destination for $6.3 billion of Ireland’s foreign direct investment abroad, while Ireland is the fifteenth-largest recipient of Canadian investment at nearly $14 billion. Bilateral merchandise trade between Ireland and Canada is growing steadily and reached a value of CAD $2.23bn in 2015.
There are a number of Canadian or Canadian owned firms established here, including Brown-Thomas, Great-West Life, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank, Bank of Montreal and Air Canada.
The Working Holiday Program (WHP) agreement, signed by both governments in 2003, has proved to be an effective vehicle for strengthening ties between Canadian and Irish youth.
Canada and Ireland are party to a Double Taxation Treaty (2005) and a signed update in 2016 to the 1989 Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty under which over 30 feature films and television dramas have been coproduced over the past decade, including Academy Award nominees ‘Room’ and ‘Brooklyn.’
In addition, a ‘Blue Skies’ air agreement was signed between Ireland and Canada in April 2007, which allows Canadian and Irish air-carriers to provide services between cities in Canada and Ireland.
The long-awaited Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union was expected officially signed by Prime Minister Trudeau and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on October 30, 2016 and was passed by the EU Parliament on February 15th 2017.
Key features of CETA include removing 98% of customer duties, ending restrictions on open access to public procurement contracts, opening up the services market, offering predictable conditions for investors and helping prevent illegal copying of EU innovations and traditional product. Certain requirements for visiting visas will be removed.
As a result of CETA, Canada will be one of the only developed countries in the world with guaranteed preferential access to the marketplace of almost one billion consumers in NAFTA and the EU. This represents over half the world’s output of goods and services.
Ireland, with our common law system, business friendly government, highly educated workforce, competitive 12.5% corporate tax and the OECD-approved 6.25% Knowledge Box tax for IP profits, is an ideal location for Canadian firms looking to establish operations in Europe as a result of CETA.
A promising future
Over the past two years, there has been an influx of activity between Canada and Ireland, across many industry sectors: