Varadkar travels to US for west coast trade mission

It will see the Taoiseach visit Seattle, Silicon Valley and San Francisco

Varadkar travels to US for west coast trade mission

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the third Plenary Session in the Royal Hospital Kilmainhim of the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in the United States for a three-day trade mission.

The primary focus of the visit to the west coast is on growing trade, investment and tourism between Ireland and the US.

Mr Varadkar will also highlight Ireland's priorities in the context of Brexit and other international developments.

His programme includes a series of meetings with client companies and representatives of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

In Seattle, the Taoiseach will engage with business leaders as well as local Irish community representatives - before travelling on to Silicon Valley for a number of engagements.

It is believed Mr Varadkar will also meet senior executives from Apple on Thursday.

This would be the first meeting between the Taoiseach and senior Apple officials since the European Commission announced it was referring Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to collect €13bn in state aid.

In San Francisco, he will have the opportunity to meet with Mayor Edwin Lee and Irish community representatives at City Hall there on Thursday evening.

On Friday, he will attend an Enterprise Ireland event aimed at supporting the growth of Irish companies on the west coast, before officially opening the San Francisco office of an Enterprise Ireland client company.

Speaking ahead his trip, Mr Varadkar said: "My visit to the US west coast is a valuable opportunity to engage with major business leaders and further strengthen the economic relationship between Ireland and the US.

"I will highlight Ireland's position as an island at the centre of the world, our strong commitment to EU membership and our status as a gateway for US firms into Europe and other global markets.

"As an open trading economy at the heart of Europe, I want to double Ireland's global footprint over the next seven years to maximise opportunities for growth and prosperity for our people at home and abroad."

In the last US census, 35 million people identified Irish as their primary heritage.

Some 10% of the population of San Francisco Bay Area and 11.3% of Seattle Metro claims Irish as their primary heritage.

And there are approximately 9,000 Irish-born people living in the greater Bay Area.