The Chamber Trade Connections series was delighted to welcome His Excellency Mr Miguel Malfavón, Ambassador of Mexico to Ireland on Thursday last 11th October.  The programme which is supported by Carlow County Council and Carlow Local Enterprise Office aims to assist in growing and developing networks to further promote Carlow and all that we have to offer, showcasing and highlighting the great range of companies, people, products and services to offer.

Bilateral trade between Ireland and Mexico was worth over €2.5bn in 2016, with over 82% of this related to Irish exports. According to forecasts by PwC, the economy of Mexico is forecast to be the 7th largest in the world by 2050.

The ambassadors visit commenced in the Arboretum where H.E. Mr Malfavón was met by Yvonne Jones, President of County Carlow Chamber and officially welcomed to Carlow.  The delegation enjoyed refreshments in Rachels Garden Café in the company of Rachel and Barry Doyle, where several potential opportunities were discussed for trade, before commencing a tour of the busienss.

Next on the schedule was a visit to Carlow Brewing Company, where the Ambassador met with Seamus O’Hara and some of the team at the independent, family-owned business established in 1996 and regarded as one of the pioneers of Irish craft brewing.  Carlow Brewing Company are one of many local companies who already trade with Mexico and the visit was an opportunity to showcase the company and to explore additional opportunities.  The afternoon opened with an introduction to the company and the products, including the Notorious; before moving on to a tour of the facility and a masterclass on tasting some of the finest craft beers in the country.

Carlow has a long tradition in precision engineering and the next visit by the Ambassador was to P.B Machine Tech Ltd based in Bagenalstown, where he could see first-hand why Carlow is so highly regarded in this area.  P.B Machine Tech is part of the Burnside Group, who employ approx 1000 people locally and export over 90% of their products to globally.  Several opportunities for collaboration and trade were discussed, before the Ambassador was given a tour of the facility by Pascal Byrne and Lily Holmes, where the Ambassador got to see first hand what has helped to make Burnside Group a world leader in the manufacture of Hydraulic Cylinders.

The delegation departed Bagenalstown and headed for Carlow, where Declan Doyle, Vice President for Development & Research was on hand to welcome the Ambassador to the Institute of Technology Carlow accompanied by members of the team from various faculties and departments.  Ambassador Malfavon, accompanied by Tomas Olvera Lopez, Head of the Consular Office then met with the delegation from IT Carlow to discuss programmes and opportunities for developing links with the College.

Brian O’Farrell, CEO of County Carlow Chamber opened with reception highlighting the importance of connections and building relationships that can help with maximising on opportunities and further developing trade between Carlow and Mexico.  “The visit of Ambassador Malfavón has been scheduled since earlier in the year and it coincides with the imminent release of the new EU Mexico trade deal, a deal which will see the reduction and elimination of a number of tariffs and barriers, opening up further opportunities for trade between Carlow and Mexico “commented Mr O’Farrell.

Yvonne Jones, President of County Carlow Chamber discussed the significance of maintaining and developing links between companies in Carlow and Mexico.  On close of the evening Yvonne presented Ambassador Malfavón with a gift, a bottle of Founders Reserve from Walsh Whiskey which had been specially bottled for the Ambassador.

The Ambassador spoke about his delight at being invited to visit Carlow and what he had learned and experienced during the day.  He remarked on the similarities between the people of Ireland and Mexico and how the embassy is happy to assist companies in the area where required.

The County Carlow Chamber are developing plans for further events in the Chamber Trade Connections series and would like to hear from any businesses who have entered or are looking to enter any specific markets.