China is our fastest growing export market
China will overtake France as Ireland's fourth biggest export market by 2030, according to a forecast by bankers HSBC.
A new report published today by the bank predicts that India, China and Vietnam will be the fastest-growing markets for Irish exports until 2030.
"Although Ireland's main export markets of the UK, USA and Germany will remain the top three destinations, the main growth areas for its exports lie in emerging Asia," it says.
"This is evidenced by forecasted growth in exports to China of 11pc per annum in the period 2016-2030."
It has also forecast that the UK will become Ireland's single biggest export market by 2030, switching places with the US, which is currently number one.
But the bank has also warned that the "much weaker prospects" for Ireland's main export markets mean that export growth will be "more subdued" up until the end of 2015.
It reckons that Ireland's exports to main markets in Europe, excluding Russia, will only grow by about 3pc per annum between 2013 and 2015.
However, HSBC forecasts that the rate will pick up to 4pc between 2016 and 2020.
Our exports to Asia, excluding Japan and North America, are also expected to accelerate between 2016 and 2020, according to the bank.
"Exports continue to play a key role in Ireland's GDP growth and whilst our traditional export markets remain vital to this, it is increasingly important to look beyond them," said Alan Duffy, the managing director of HSBC in Ireland and its head of corporate banking here.
"Understanding which sectors are growing in which markets delivers huge opportunities for businesses as they plan for the future and aim to capitalise on these trends," he said.
An event called the National Business Expo is being held in Dublin next week, aiming to encourage Irish firms to target foreign markets.