Fears for companies with UK export focus
AROUND 40 per cent of Irish goods exporters traded exclusively with the UK in 2016. That’s according to a major new survey of the British-Irish trading relationship by the CSO.
The figures lay bare the potential for a hard Brexit to wreak havoc on Irish business, with SMEs set to be hit hard.
SMEs made up the large majority of the number of enterprises exporting goods to the UK, at 93 per cent of the total number of UK exporters. Micro enterprises (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) alone made up over half the number of firms exporting to the UK.
The agri-food sector stands to be the most affected in value terms, with €3.4bn of goods exported to the UK in 2016 - 24 per cent of the total.
Representative group the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) said more and more of its members have been looking to diversify their markets since 2016 - a way of reducing exposure to the UK ahead of Brexit.