CETA ratification pivotal to future of EU trade agenda




Today (14th February 2017) on the eve of the European Parliament’s crucial vote on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, Chambers Ireland and national Chambers from across Europe call on EU leaders and governments to stand firmly in favour of an inclusive and forward-looking EU trade agenda, while also warning that recent complications around the deal have highlighted that the effectiveness of the EU’s common commercial policy is at stake.


Speaking today, Waterford Chamber CEO, Nick Donnelly said, “The world trading order is under enormous strain, with growing public opposition to free trade and moves by some governments towards increasingly protectionist policies. It is now more important than ever that the EU supports an ambitious, inclusive and forward-looking common commercial policy. The adoption of CETA by the European Parliament would send a positive message to the world that Europe stands for free, fair and inclusive trade.”


“CETA has added importance given the unprecedented levels of uncertainty about global trade and the even the future of the rules-based international trading system. Today, Chambers of Commerce from across Europe come together to call on MEPs to ratify CETA but also to revive long delayed negotiations with partners in key emerging markets that will protect European businesses and citizens from the consequences of unfair trade.”

Chambers Ireland welcomes publication of Mediation Bill 2017


Chambers Ireland today (13th February 2017) welcomed the long-awaited publication of the Mediation Bill 2017 by the Department of Justice and Equality.


Speaking following the publication of the legislation, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Chambers Ireland has long been an advocate for increased use of these mechanisms, particularly mediation, to resolve commercial disputes. Going to court can be an adversarial and polarising experience, whereas the benefit of mediation is that it can often preserve business relationships, improving efficiency and competitiveness.”


“The absence of a statutory basis for mediation in Ireland has meant that it can sometimes be difficult to persuade parties that mediation is the best first option in dispute resolution. Therefore, today’s publication of the Mediation Bill 2017 is a welcome step towards encouraging more businesses to consider using mediation to resolve commercial disputes.”


In 2016, the World Bank “Doing Business” report again identified Ireland as an expensive location in which to enforce a contract. Faced with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Government must take every opportunity to protect and improve the competitiveness of our economy. Making commercial dispute resolution more cost-effective for business is a simple way of doing this, simultaneously reducing any backlogs of cases in the courts and subsequently improving our international reputation as a location for investment.”

Action Plan for Jobs 2017 key pillar of Ireland’s Brexit strategy


Government Must Focus on Meeting Ambitious Jobs Targets


Action Plan for Jobs 2017

Waterford Chamber has welcomed the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017. Commenting on the Action Plan, Waterford Chamber President, Laurent Borla said, “We support the Government commitment to the target of adding 200,000 jobs to our economy by 2020 and the ambitious aim of 45,000 new jobs in 2017.


“We welcome the cross-departmental approach to the implementation of strategies to create jobs and support Irish businesses. This Plan will require a coordinated effort from across Government to deliver on these ambitious objectives.


“The Irish economy has been performing well over the past number of years, but we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent. With the impending UK withdrawal from the EU and the evolving external trade policy of the United States, Ireland will face serious challenges in 2017. The APJ 2017 is an opportunity to focus the minds of policy makers and job creators.


“The focus on diversifying Ireland’s trade footprint outlined in the Plan is a welcome recognition of the specific challenges arising from Brexit uncertainty. Building the capacity of our indigenous SMEs to export will take on a new importance as our traditional markets become more difficult to access. The Chamber network has long advocated for the introduction of an SME focused export finance scheme, and we particularly welcome the announcement of an Export Finance pilot scheme to help our SMEs to access new markets.”

Clear strategy for regional economic development needed - Ireland 2040


Laurent Borla RTE


National Planning Framework must drive the sustainable economic growth of Ireland’s regions


Commenting on the launch of Ireland 2040 consultation process, Laurent Borla, President, Waterford Chamber said, "We welcome the launch of the Ireland 2040 paper and the beginning of a public consultation process that will help inform the development of the National Planning Framework. A strong National Planning Framework will shape planning strategies in Ireland for the next 20 years.


"We believe the primary focus of the National Planning Framework must be to facilitate and support the effective and sustainable economic growth of Ireland’s regions. A clear strategy for regional economic development will ensure that each region can fulfil its potential for economic growth and will boost Ireland’s overall economic competitiveness.


"A National Planning Framework that is practically implementable will play a positive role in the long-term sustainable economic development of Ireland. Strong cities driving a regional ecosystem of thriving towns and vibrant communities will grow the Irish economy and enhance the quality of life of our people. The National Planning Framework will be transformational for Ireland and we urge businesses to engage with the consultation."

Waterford Chamber welcomes European delegation




The 2016 European Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship stated very clearly “Digital transformation is not an option – it is a must”. As a result, Waterford Chamber has joined forces with a number of European partners to develop ‘Business Transformation towards Digitalisation and Smart Systems’ (BITTMAS).


The European delegation met in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort this week under the leadership of Waterford Chamber’s Strategic Projects Executive Donal Nolan to review the technical elements of the project and to move it to the next stage of development.


BITTMAS is a self assessment software tool to aid SMEs in the digitisation process, which will allow businesses to measure themselves against industry benchmarks.


According to Donal Nolan, “This is year one of the project, which will see ourselves and delegates from Germany, Austria, Romania, Spain and Turkey develop the project. Year 2 is when we begin field testing and we will be reaching out to a select number of Waterford Chamber members to engage with us on the project, which on completion will have a huge impact on the digitisation of business across Europe.”


Welcoming the international group, Waterford Chamber President Laurent Borla said: “Europe 2020 as a strategy intends to focus the European Union (EU) and its member states on the important task of improving the EU’s competitiveness. A top priority is small and medium-sized enterprises. Europe is a continent of SMEs — where nine out of ten companies are SMEs and, two out of three jobs are in SMEs. They have to be part of the digital journey; they are crucial to Europe´s growth and competitiveness. Your project will enhance the development of SMEs everywhere and future proof them so they are able to develop and grow within the market.”


For more information on Strategic European Projects, please contact Donal Nolan by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Calendar of Events 2017



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