Enterprise; Trade and Employment | Brexit impact on Irish Export and Import Markets
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment if he remains satisfied that Ireland’s export market continues to be accessible in the immediate aftermath of Brexit; if particular or specific challenges have been identified as potential major obstacles for Irish exporters and importers; if decisions have been made on contingency measures and are now in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Our export-led sector has demonstrated dexterity and resilience when faced with ongoing challenges in the global trading environment coupled with the aftermath of Brexit.
The Central Statistics Office compiles statistical data in relation to Goods Exports and Imports. According to the CSO, in 2020, our total Goods Exports were valued at €162bn. Goods Exports to the UK were valued at €14.7bn (of which €12.3bn was exported to Great Britain and €2.4bn to Northern Ireland). In 2021, our total Goods Exports were valued at €165bn, an increase of €3bn over 2021. Goods Exports to the UK in 2021 were valued at €18.1bn (of which €14.4bn was exported to Great Britain and €3.7bn to Northern Ireland).
There are a number of current challenges that are potential obstacles to international trade such as the war in Ukraine, supply side problems, access to talent, Brexit, inflation and the response mechanisms of different countries. The Department and its agencies are working closely together to try to mitigate against challenges for companies through programmes that improve competitiveness, enhance digital capability and through assisting companies to access new opportunities in overseas markets.
Notwithstanding Brexit, Enterprise Ireland clients experienced impressively strong export growth to the UK in 2021 with exports valued at €7.9bn, including a 20% growth in Non-Food exports. New Brexit related rules and paperwork have been challenging for exporters and importers, but most companies have now gained a good understanding of how to navigate any obstacles. In particular, exporters of small consignments are being assisted by Local Enterprise Offices information sessions on customs as well as training offered by other bodies. Enterprise Ireland have also been raising awareness of regulatory change and recently held a webinar for health and beauty clients about labelling and other requirements.
The Government is continuing to closely monitor the impact that both Brexit and COVID-19 are having on imports and exports to and from the UK and other markets. We will continue to help companies diversify and discover new markets and reap the benefits of free trade agreements and work with them to adapt to new realities, both in relation to Brexit and to COVID-19.
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