In an exclusive, can reveal that on Monday morning the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Brian Cowen will unveil 133 million dollars in new US-Irish business contracts during the largest Enterprise Ireland trade mission from Ireland to the USA in over 20 years.

At a special event in The Academy of Sciences in Manhattan on Monday, 23 Irish companies will announce new U.S.-Ireland business contracts for 2009. It’s the first trade mission led by a Taoiseach in over 20 years and it’s undoubtedly the largest one ever undertaken.

The trade mission will feature 98 Irish companies in total, including 8 from Northern Ireland, and it is understood that the Taoiseach will take part in six high level customer focused events over his two day visit to New York and Washington, D.C.

“We’re showing that in the current climate we’re not taking the US market for granted,” said Tom Cusack, US Director for Enterprise Ireland. “It’s an extremely important market for Ireland – it’s the number two export market for Irish companies, so now more than ever Irish companies need to be spending face time in the market here, meeting customers.”

There are six main customer focused events planned over the two days of Cowen’s visit. The first item on the agenda will be the Trade Mission Business Breakfast on Monday morning at The Academy of Sciences in Manhattan. Cowen will speak at a breakfast for 230, which will include Irish companies and their American guests.

Said Cusack: “Over the two days there will be twenty three companies announcing new business for 2009. These are contracts that will have been signed in the last two weeks and they vary across a range of sectors ranging from software to knitwear, from life sciences to engineering companies, from industrial companies to consumer companies.

” The overall objective of the trade mission is to assist Irish companies to maintain and expand current business relationships with their US customers and partners. On Monday evening QVC, the online and network channel, will begin their 24-hour Saint Patrick’s Day special featuring products created by a number of the Irish businesses participating in the trade mission

. Cowen will host the breakfast in Manhattan on Monday and a reception in Washington DC on Tuesday. He will meet with each Irish company who is announcing new business, alongside their U.S. customers at a reception in Washington’s Saint Regis Hotel. In Washington, a Federal Procurement and Contracting Forum will also be held for the visiting CEO’s of Irish companies to apprise them of business opportunities contained within the recently approved stimulus package drafted by the Obama administration.

It’s understood that Cowen will take the opportunity to remind his guests that investment in Irish business is not simply one way. Ireland is now the tenth largest investor in the USA (in 2008 it invested over 33 billion here). Strong investment by Irish companies in the U.S. means that over 82,000 American citizens are now employed in over 200 Irish owned companies across 1,300 locations in 50 states. 27 Irish companies opened a new office in the US last year.

“The Taoiseach’s announcements will send a very positive  message to Ireland and to the U.S. Business is being won by Irish companies and there are always opportunities in adversity,” added Cusack.