Irish exports to Canada increased by 58%, since the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement [CETA] was provisionally applied in 2017.

Members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs will hear today of the benefits CETA ratification could deliver for Ireland.

The committee will be addressed by Suzanne Drisdelle, Chargé d'affaires of the Canadian Embassy.

Ms Drisdelle will tell TDs and Senators that CETA will open new opportunities for Irish companies to bid on Canadian Government Procurement and will facilitate the freer movement of business people once travel restrictions ease.

They will also be joined by the chairperson of the Ireland Canada Business Association [ICBA], Chris Collenette.

He will warn TDs and Senators that a failure by Ireland to ratify CETA will be detrimental to its post-Covid recovery and could weaken the relationship between Canada and Ireland.

In his opening statement, Mr Collenette said that about 15,000 people in Ireland are employed by more than 75 Canadian owned Irish companies such as Irish Life, Brown Thomas and Circle K.

He will tell politicians that Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasise the need for Ireland to secure new export partners.

In February, the controversial EU-Canadian trade deal was referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on EU affairs by the Government for further consideration.

It followed a number of Green TDs expressing concerns over the accord which was due to be ratified by Ireland in December 2020.

Last month Green Party TD Patrick Costello lodged papers in the High Court regarding the deal. He believes a referendum may be required to ratify it.

Deputy Costello argues that CETA involves a transfer of sovereignty and judicial power which is incompatible with the constitution.