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Firms trading across Irish border report better profits, growth than those that do not

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Martin Robinson, Director of Strategy at InterTradeIreland

Martin Robinson, Director of Strategy at InterTradeIreland

Martin Robinson, Director of Strategy at InterTradeIreland

Firms that exports across the Irish border are more likely to be profitable and almost twice as likely to expand rapidly as those that do not.

A large majority (78pc) of firms that trade across the border describe themselves as profitable, compared to 51 per cent of firms that only sell in one jurisdiction, a survey by business group InterTradeIreland has found.

The second-quarter Business Monitor survey found that 41pc of companies trading across the border are enjoying rapid to moderate expansion, double the 21pc rate of non cross border traders.

“Despite the challenges SMEs face, on the whole, cross-border trade remains remarkably robust with a higher percentage of companies who export cross border reporting profitability, growth and increased sales compared to their non-cross-border trading counterparts,” said Martin Robinson, InterTradeIreland’s director of strategy.

Central Statistics Office data shows the trade in goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland reached €7.65bn in 2021.

Irish exports to Northern Ireland have surged 42pc to reach just over 1.9bn in the first five months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, while imports surged 23pc to around the same level.

Despite rampant inflation and instability due to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic, 83pc of firms across Ireland say they are in stable or growth mode. The figure was 85pc in the first quarter.

However, almost twice as many firms in the leisure, hotel and catering sector (42pc) are now experiencing a drop in sales, compared to 23pc in the first quarter.

Energy prices are the top issue for 86pc of firms, with overheads the biggest concern for 83pc, a similar trend to the last six months.

Almost half of firms (46pc) report difficulties hiring workers with appropriate skills, while Brexit and the pandemic have declined in importance for firms.

“As skills challenges become a significant issue, we are starting to see companies look at different ways to tackle shortages: 35pc, for example, have increased advertising while 29pc are retraining in-house.

"Innovation through exploiting digital technology is another area that could help firms create efficiencies.”

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