This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

Northern Irish & Republic of Ireland flags

Goods imported into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland have increased by 77% in value since Brexit, with exports the other way up 43%. 

Figures from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) show goods imports from Northern Ireland rose to €1.77 billion in the first six months of 2021. This is an increase from just under €1bn in 2020.

Exports from the Republic to the North, rose to €1.57bn, up from €1.1bn.

Imports from Great Britain have decreased by €213m (-16%) to just under €1.1bn since June 2020. The largest decreases were in imports of food, live animals and manufactured goods.

Unique status

As explained previously in the IOE&IT Daily Update, Northern Ireland is now part of both the EU and UK customs unions under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, while declarations are now required for goods moving from Britain into Northern Ireland, there is no such requirement for goods moving over the Irish border into the Republic.


British firms trading with Northern Ireland have been supported by the Trader Support Service (TSS), the online portal helping firms to submit declarations, established by the UK government towards the end of last year.

Since the Protocol came into effect, declarations have been completed for almost a million goods consignments through the platform, with over 40,000 firms registered to use it.

Changing trade flows

According to the Irish Times, since Brexit, some British-based traders have established new bases in Northern Ireland in order to increase trade with the Republic of Ireland.

Some Irish companies have also replaced imports from Britain with goods from NI.

Logistics changes

According to another Irish Times story, Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have completely changed Dublin’s industrial and logistics sectors.

As the value of imports from Britain has declined, Irish firms have pivoted to the European Union as a supplier of goods, with the value of EU imports increasing by 17%.

From an e-commerce perspective, Ireland is likely to see a greater need for warehousing and associated logistics infrastructure as goods previously stored and distributed via Britain are increasingly being onshored in Ireland.