Forecasts in the Irish Republic on trade with the UK anticipate a further decline in Irish exports to the UK as both economies continue to contract due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Irish Independent reports.
Before the pandemic, UK government figures published in January showed strong trade connections between the two countries, despite Irish efforts to broaden its export horizons beyond the UK after the Brexit vote in 2016.
The Irish Independent quotes economists predicting further reduced reliance on the UK for Irish exports.
Yet it also notes that:
- The Irish Republic still exported €15.7bn-worth of goods to the UK in 2019, equal to one tenth of all Irish exports, as well as €27bn in services exports.
- Irish forecasters expect the country’s exports to improve sharply in 2021, recovering from the 7.5% drop in exports experienced in 2020.
- In total, the Irish Independent reports, Ireland exports €440bn of goods and services annually with the US, EU and UK the biggest markets.
House of Commons data revealed that in 2018, Ireland was the UK’s fourth largest EU export market in 2018, and seventh largest source of imports.
Overall, Ireland was the UK's fourth largest EU export market in 2018 and seventh largest source of imports.
In 2018, the UK's single largest export to Ireland was petrol and petroleum products, valued at £1.5 billion, representing nearly a tenth of all UK goods exports to Ireland.
Meanwhile the EU remains concerned about arrangements for how exports from the UK into Northern Ireland will be managed, once the UK leaves the Customs Union on December 31.
Global trade contraction
Irish preparations for weakening export ties to the UK come as global trade is forecast by the UN to fall by a record 27% in the second quarter of 2020, after a coronavirus-generated slump in the export of cars, machine parts and oil.