Business World

Friday 15 December 2017

Ireland trade with US bucks the trend for EU exports

Preliminary figures for 2014 show an increase in the value of goods exports of €2.1bn, or more than 2pc, to €89bn compared to 2013
Preliminary figures for 2014 show an increase in the value of goods exports of €2.1bn, or more than 2pc, to €89bn compared to 2013
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Paul O'Donoghue

Ireland is the one of the only countries in the EU whose main partner for goods exports is not a member of the union, new data has shown.

Ireland is one of the few exceptions to the rule for EU trade, with its main destination for exports being the US, which accounted for 22pc of all Irish goods sold abroad.

In almost every other country the main destination for exports was another member of the EU.

The only other exceptions were Greece, Lithunia, Sweden and the UK whose main export partners were Turkey, Russia, Norway and the US, respectively.

The UK is just behind the US as our favoured destination for exports, accounting for 15pc, while Belgium was the third most important with 13pc.

The figures, contained in a new report from the European Union's statistics agency, also show that our much-touted trade link with our closest neighbour remains as vital as ever. The statistics, which measure trade activity for 2014, show that the UK is far and away the country from which we import most of our goods.

Based on trade value the UK accounts for 38pc of Ireland's imports.

Austria is the only other country that relied on another more heavily than Ireland for imports, buying 41pc of its goods from Germany.

According to the most recent figures available from the Central Statistics Office, last year's strong increase in exports was one of the factors that helped push Irish GDP growth to 4.8pc, making us the fastest growing economy in Europe.

GNP, which removes the effect of multinational companies, grew by 5.2pc while exports surged by more than 10pc.

Preliminary figures for 2014 show an increase in the value of goods exports of €2.1bn, or more than 2pc, to €89bn compared to 2013.

Imports increased by €3.6bn, or 7pc, to €53.6bn. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed 4pc to €35.5bn.

Analysts have said that, while export performance is expected to dip this year, trade should remain strong. Speaking to the Irish Independent at the time of the release of the CSO figures Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers said: "Although not as strong as 2014, we still see Irish exports of goods and services rising by a healthy 7pc in volume terms this year."

Although Ireland was one of the few countries that did the majority of its exporting outside of the EU, as a whole the US was a popular destination for trade and was the main partner for the bloc.

In 2014 the US traded just over half a trillion euros worth of goods with the EU, accounting for 15pc of the bloc's total traffic in the year.

This keeps it well ahead of Russia and Switzerland, who traded €285bn and €237bn with the EU respectively.

However, China has been slowly making gains on the US for years and sits just behind it as the EU's second largest trade partner, trading €467bn last year to account for 14pc.

Irish Independent

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