Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, ended his visit to Saudi Arabia with the signing of an agreement to establish a $100-million industrial plant in Riyadh.
Saudi daily Arab News quoted him saying: "I and my delegation are happy indeed with the results of our visit to the Kingdom. The joint venture agreement bolsters bilateral ties."
The joint venture was signed between the GREW Energy Green Technology and the Mubadara Group.
The deal will initially generate annual revenues of around $10 million, with a potential to grow substantially over the next two years.
Pearse O'Kane, chief operating officer of GREW Energy, said: "Waste management in Saudi Arabia is a growing issue and our joint venture with Mubadara Group is well equipped to deliver a safe and sustainable solution in Riyadh and nationwide."
The signing ceremony was held at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) in the presence of Bruton and his delegation, officials of GREW Energy and Mubadara Group and CSCCI Secretary General Khaled Al-Otaibi.
Bruton, who headed a delegation representing 60 Irish companies, held separate talks with local officials from the public and private sectors in Jeddah and Riyadh.
Addressing a reception at Irish Ambassador Tony Cotter's residence, Bruton expressed his delight in visiting Saudi Arabia.
He said that he was leading a high-powered delegation representing various companies from various sectors that included aviation, water treatment and reuse, information and communications technologies and IT for health care.
"The importance of this trade mission to us is underpinned by the fact that GCC states represent a combined GDP of almost $2 trillion, with Saudi Arabia alone representing $711 billion of the total," he said.
Bruton also said that he enjoyed his first visit to Jeddah "where we had a group of Irish companies from sectors such as water technology, food technology and aviation."
He added: "We had excellent meetings with, among others, the National Food Company, Saudi Airlines, Al Muhaidab Contracting and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce."
He said: "We are proud of the fact that over 2,000 Saudi students are studying 3rd level in Ireland and look forward to have that number increased."
Bruton said: "With a population of almost 29 million, the Kingdom abounds with opportunities for Irish companies as significant multi-billion investments are ongoing in all the sectors represented by Irish companies."
He noted the King Abdullah Financial l Center, which comprises 70 high-rise buildings that are being built simultaneously, with great interest.
This is a development that has huge opportunities in the medium- and long-term for companies in the financial services and financial technology sectors.
"This is one of the many large and exciting projects in the Kingdom that includes the development of the Riyadh metro system, the King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah and significant infrastructural expansion in health care and education taking place in the Kingdom," he said.
"In this regard, Irish companies can help. Export trade is at the center of our economic recovery and growth," said Bruton.
In the past few years, he said that Ireland had made significant progress and that it has returned to a period of robust economic growth.
"We see ourselves as global exporters of Irish knowledge and expertise. This is by far the single biggest element of our overseas trade," he said.
He said that Ireland's total investment in knowledge (including investment in public and private spending on higher education) increased by an annual average annual rate of over 10 percent over the past decade compared with averages around 3 percent by the EU and the OECD.
He said the Irish government is committed to research, development and innovation.
"Ireland's R&D sector is driven by an exceptional level of collaboration between industry, academia, government agencies and regulatory authorities who work effectively as an ambitious national team," he said.