Friday 23 March 2018

Action is needed before we are left too far behind

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THOSE who like their glass half full will be pleased that Eurostat figures confirm once again that Ireland has the largest trade surplus in Europe per head of the population but those who tend to see a half-empty glass will be concerned that exports are expanding more rapidly in the rest of Europe than at home.

Even those who rejoice in the trade surplus figures will acknowledge that our surplus continues to expand because exports are continuing to rise while imports are falling which means that the size of the surplus is being flattered by the weakness of our economy.

Exports are often presented as a panacea to all our problems. While the banks' collapse and our fiscal deficit remains chilling, our export sector enjoys a talismanic quality because they are so far ahead of our partners. Nobody is suggesting that Ireland will lose her status as Europe's premier exporter per capita but it is nevertheless disturbing to realise just how fast we are being left behind as exports soar elsewhere.

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