By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 19 June 2014:
Commercial ties between Ireland and Libya have been strengthened with Irish companies signing $179 million worth . . .[restrict]of business contracts with Libya.
The contracts, which are mainly for water and infrastructure projects as well as some pre-fabricated buildings, have all been signed through the Libyan Irish Business Council (LIBC), which is headed by Peter Lismore. The recent contracts have been primarily signed with the government although the LIBC is also interested in boosting trade with Libya’s private sector.
“These contracts have all been signed in the last eight weeks and we are hoping that, by the end of the year, this figure will reach a quarter of a billion,” Lismore said. “Our five-year ambition here is for Ireland to be doing $1.5 billion annul trade with Libya.”
He puts the recent success of the LIBC down to building good relationships through an almost continuous presence in the country since 2003.
“The Libyan market is probably one of the most difficult markets on the planet because, before you establish commerciality, you have to establish strong interpersonal relationships,” he said. “Since 2003 I have spent six to seven months here every year, pushing the Irish agenda.” Lismore added that the failure of some international companies to successfully secure contracts in Libya was likely the result a lack of in-country presence and consistency.
“Ireland’s business is here to stay,” Lismore said. “There is a huge appetite for the Irish to work here and we are seeing an equally large Libyan interest in Ireland.” [/restrict]