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UK Still A Top Market For Irish Exports But Signs Of Diversification Showing

By Publications Checkout
UK Still A Top Market For Irish Exports But Signs Of Diversification Showing

The UK remains by far Ireland’s most relied upon the export market for Enterprise Ireland clients, despite the growing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) revealed yesterday that the UK market was worth €7.9 billion in 2018.

Not only is that €2 billion more than the Eurozone, EI’s second-biggest market, but it means that one in every three exports is to the UK.

However, one optimistic sign is that growth in the UK, while it increased by 4%, lagged behind the rate of growth of other markets.

Diversification Signs

Exports from EI clients to the Eurozone area increased by 8% to €4.8 billion while exports to USA and Canada increased by 6% to €4.1 billion.


This shift can also be seen in figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) over recent months.

In February, it was released that the value of goods exports rose by 15% in 2018 to a record €140.8 billion, despite a €500 million drop in exports to the UK.

This was the UK’s second annual drop in three years, according to the CSO.

The 3% drop in trade to the UK was offset by increases to all of Ireland’s other major trade partners, such as the EU and the US.

This is due to other companies creating the same strategy as EI, which is to explore areas of new opportunity and assist clients in extending their reach to new markets.


This larger diversification in exports was praised by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, who said it was a key priority in light of Brexit.

Early Success

EI’s attempt to diversify into other markets has not been without its success, however.

In 2018, there was ‘particularly strong’ growth in the Netherlands, up 20%, France up 9%, and Germany up 6%.

In addition, exports to France and the Netherlands exceeded €1 billion, joining Germany to make three markets for Irish exports in the Eurozone worth over €1 billion.

EI said that with a large, stable economy, regulatory alignment, zero currency risk, and no customs or borders, the Eurozone represents significant potential for Irish companies.

© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.

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