NEIGHBOURS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC: Connecticut legislators in the state capital Hartford (above) unite around proposed Ireland Trade Commission Connecticut Tourism Office

Connecticut set to Green-Light Ireland Trade Commission

Legislators in Connecticut have voted in favour of a new Trade Commission with Ireland - following the lead of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy who signed a similar bill into law last year. 

The legislation proposed by the state's powerful General Assembly's Commerce Committee must still gain approval from the full House and Senate but with bipartisan support assured, it looks a done deal.

According to the CT Insider, the bill gained momentum in a public hearing on 5 March when business leaders from Connecticut and the Republic of Ireland spoke in support of stronger transatlantic links underpinned by the resumption of the Aer LIngus Dublin-Hartford flight that same month.

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Connecticut State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff hailed the Trade Commission as "a great idea".

"Introduced by Connecticut’s legislative leadership in all four caucuses, an Ireland Trade Commision costs nothing to the taxpayers but sets up a framework for businesses and government both in Connecticut and Ireland to work together to enhance trade and grow jobs."

BRIDGING DIVIDE: On the Founders' Bridge in Hartford, capital of Connecticut

BRIDGING DIVIDE: On the Founders' Bridge in Hartford, capital of Connecticut

Senator Duff thanked the Irish Government's roving 'ambassador' to the Diaspora Senator Mark Daly for bringing the proposal to his attention. 

According to the draft bill, as well as boasting members from the Connecticut legislature, the new Commission would also have representation from the state's Irish American community. Among the Commission's key objectives will be to: 

  • Advance bilateral trade and investment between the state and Ireland; 
  • Initiate joint action on policy issues of mutual interest to the state and Ireland;
  • Promote business and academic exchanges between the state and Ireland.