Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
209. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of the monthly exports and imports in terms of value to and from Great Britain in each of the first five months of 2019, 2020 and 2021, in tabular form; the significant changes that have place during this three year period; the steps he plans to take to stimulate trade from Ireland to Great Britain further; the barriers to this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30383/21]
The Central Statistics Office compiles statistical data in relation to Goods Exports and Imports. Statistics for Ireland’s goods exports to, and goods imports from, Great Britain for the first five months of 2019 and 2020 and for the first three months of 2021 are contained in the tables below. Statistics for April and May 2021 are not yet available.
|-||Exports to Great Britain €million||Imports from Great Britain €million|
|-||Exports to Great Britain €’000||Imports from Great Britain €’000|
|-||Exports to Great Britain €’000||Imports from Great Britain €’000|
The performance of the import and export sectors has been significantly impacted over the last three years by both Brexit and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Brexit has fundamentally changed the trading relationship between Ireland and the UK and will continue to impact that trading relationship. The Government has been working to prepare for Brexit for several years – with intensive effort across many Departments and Agencies, including legislation, supports for business and other sectors, stakeholder outreach and widespread public communications to promote readiness. My Department and the Enterprise Agencies provide a significant number of Brexit supports including planning vouchers, consultancy and mentoring supports, the Enterprise Ireland Ready for Customs Grant of up to €9,000, as well as financial supports for adapting and restructuring business models and grants for research into new markets to assist companies respond to the new trading environment.
The long-term response to Brexit is for companies across all sectors to become more competitive, more innovative and to diversify their export footprint into more international markets. My Department’s 2021 budget allocation of €1.13bn represents an increase of €154 million or 15.9% on the 2020 allocation. This is in addition to €100 million earmarked from the Recovery Fund for Brexit. This is a record allocation and will significantly bolster the capability of our enterprise and regulatory agencies to help businesses examine their Brexit exposure, seek advice, avail of customs training and make plans to protect their business.
Since January 2021, Enterprise Ireland has engaged with client companies through surveys and focus groups to understand the impacts for companies on the new trading relationship with the UK. Companies across all sectors identified common challenges such as the potential disruption from Import Checks which are set to begin in October; supplier issues and transport and logistics; and general competitiveness of businesses because Brexit – related customs procedures and added supply chain costs have increased the costs to businesses. Businesses are however gradually adjusting to the new trading realities, finding alternative supply chains and are being encouraged to find new markets for their products.
While Enterprise Ireland clients are continuing to diversify their export markets, the UK market remains their largest export market. In 2019, Enterprise Ireland clients reported €7.9 billion in exports to the UK, representing 31 per cent of total client exports. Enterprise Ireland remains committed to working with client companies to assist them sustain and grow their business, both in the UK, and through market diversification. This will be delivered through a comprehensive programme of funding, advice and in-market supports to get customs ready, remain competitive in the UK and identify future growth opportunities.
210. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the monthly exports and imports in terms of value to and from Northern Ireland for each of the first five months of 2019, 2020 and 2021, in tabular form; the significant changes that have taken place during this three year period; the steps he plans to take to stimulate trade from Ireland to Northern Ireland further; the barriers to this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30384/21]
The development of the all-island economy is a priority right across Government. One of the aims of the new Shared Island Unit, established in the Department of the Taoiseach, is further developing our shared island economy. This involves working to deepen our cooperation and investing together for the benefit of the North West and border regions. As part of Budget 2021, the Government announced the Shared Island Fund, with €500m to be made available over the next 5 years to 2025, ring-fenced for Shared Island projects.
InterTradeIreland (ITI), who are one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement, have an important role in helping grow businesses on the island. The body is jointly funded by my Department and its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Department for the Economy. ITI’s objective is to support businesses, through innovation and trade initiatives, to take advantage of North South co-operative opportunities, driving competitiveness, jobs and growth. ITI helps small businesses explore new cross-border markets, develop new products and services and become investor ready.
ITI has been in operation just over 20 years. During that time, the body has assisted over 42,000 businesses, supported the creation of 16,000 jobs and has generated more than €1.3billion in business development value through its programmes and initiatives. Cross border trade now stands at an all-time high. We are now facing new challenges and a different trading landscape, but the promotion and development of cross border trade will continue to be a priority in the period ahead.
ITI has also had an important role to play in protecting North-South trade in the context of Brexit, as the body is uniquely well-positioned when it comes to understanding the needs of businesses on both sides of the border. We are determined to ensure that ITI is equipped with the funding it requires to continue this important work. My Department has been steadily increasing the funding for ITI over recent years, and their budget allocation for 2021 is over €11million. This will enable the body to assist SMEs as they adjust to the new trading landscape following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The table below shows the value of Exports and Imports goods trade with Northern Ireland. You should note that services trade is not included as CSO measure that for the UK as a whole. The most recent figures are available up to March 2021.
|Value of Imports||158,585||150,947||192,367||161,906||161,130|
|Value of Exports||193,866||175,878||199,598||213,344||185,638|
|Value of Imports||179,363||163,456||176,162||137,122||130,993|
|Value of Exports||181,170||180,033||195,837||139,498||146,515|
|Value of Imports||180,498||283,419||284,501|
|Value of Exports||202,474||224,398||254,912|