Key Ir­ish ex­port sec­tors now more de­pen­dent on UK than 10 years ago

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Colm Kelpie

SOME Ir­ish ex­port­ing sec­tors have seen their de­pen­dence on the UK mar­ket in­crease since the turn of the mil­len­nium, even though the ex­ports share over­all to the UK has been de­clin­ing.

A new pa­per from the Depart­ment of Fi­nance shows the ex­tent to which some sec­tors are vul­ner­a­ble to Brexit.

The im­por­tance of the UK to Ire­land as a des­ti­na­tion mar­ket for ex­ports has de­clined over the last 40 years. In the early 1970s, the UK ac­counted for more than 50pc of to­tal Ir­ish ex­ports, whereas in 2015, the fig­ure was just 17pc, the pa­per notes.

But that trend is re­versed for cer­tain sec­tors.

For example, the pa­per states that Ire­land’s ex­ports to the UK in food and live an­i­mals has in­creased from 38pc of the sec­tor’s to­tal ex­ports in 2000 to 46pc in 2015.

Man­u­fac­tured goods ex­ports have jumped from 43pc in 2000 to 55pc in 2015.

“The fig­ures thus re­veal that al­though at the ag­gre­gate level there is a long-term trend de­cline in the UK ex­port share, cer­tain sec­tors still have a high ex­po­sure to the UK and for some, this has in­creased over the past 15 years,” the pa­per states.

Com­modi­ties and min­er­als ex­ports have also seen their share of ex­ports into the UK in­crease over that pe­riod. How­ever, the pro­por­tional ex­po­sure of the chem­i­cals sec­tor has fallen over time. As has ma­chin­ery, bev­er­ages and to­bacco and agri­cul­tural resid­u­als.

The pa­per also states that 11 of the EU 27’s top 15 most ex­posed prod­ucts to the UK, on the pro­por­tional ex­po­sure mea­sure, are Ir­ish ex­ports.

In­cluded in the top five are the Ir­ish agri-food sub sec­tors, ce­re­als, veg­eta­bles and fruit, and live an­mi­mal prod­ucts.

“These sec­tors would face some of the high­est tar­iffs if the EU reg­is­tered WTO tar­iff sched­ule was ap­plied to EU-UK trade,” the pa­per states. “These find­ings have im­pli­ca­tions for the prospects of these sec­tors in the con­text of fu­ture trade ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the EU and their vul­ner­a­bil­ity to post-exit UK trade pol­icy.”

It also states that Bri­tain’s in­ten­tion to pur­sue new trade deals could have “sub­stan­tial neg­a­tive con­se­quences for these most ex­posed sec­tors in the Ir­ish econ­omy as it would be a sig­nif­i­cant step change in the trad­ing re­la­tion­ship that has de­vel­oped since EU mem­ber­ship.”

EU prod­ucts face UK tar­iffs

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