Dan O'Brien: Sell, sell, sell - exports are the lifeblood of any upturn at home
Just as the domestic economy is showing signs of life, Ireland's vaunted export engine is spluttering.
Thursday's disappointing merchandise trade figures (for November) all but guarantee that goods exports in 2013 will be lower than in the previous year -- the first annual decline since the Great Recession in 2009. This is cause for concern.
There are many big issues around export performance. Three have been highlighted in recent days: what can be done to boost Irish entrepreneurialism; how much foreign companies are investing here; and how the over-arching matter of competitiveness, which affects all companies regardless of where they come from, is maintained and improved?