Cross-border trade now worth a record £6.1bn

Pictured are: Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland; Malachy McElmeel from McElmeel Mobility, an Armagh based SME that has benefitted from InterTradeIreland’s support; Margaret Hearty, IntertradeIreland; and Martin Agnew, InterTradeIreland.
Gareth McKeown

CROSS-border goods trade has risen to an all-time high level of over £6 billion, according to IntertradeIreland.

The figures from the business development body, show that total cross- border trade in goods has been growing since 1997 at an average rate of 4 per cent per year and currently stands at £6.11bn for 2017.

Experts from the north across the border were worth £3.9bn in 2017, with 758,000 cross-border deliveries recorded.

At present Northern Ireland makes up between 10 to 12 per cent of total exports from the Republic of Ireland to the UK and accounts for 7 to 8 per cent of imports.

The latest figures also show that firms who export across the border have a 93 per cent higher turnover and employ 46 per more staff than those that operate solely in the local market. Goods firms are also said to enjoy a productivity boost of 9 per cent as a result of cross-border trade.

Aidan Gough, director of strategy and policy at InterTradeIreland said cross-border trade is yielding tangible rewards.

“Participation in cross-border exporting is clearly making an important contribution to the performance of individual businesses, local rural economies, and the broader economy on the island," he said.

“The economic dividend of peace and cross-border cooperation has delivered, and with only 15 per cent of goods produced in Northern Ireland being exported beyond its border, and only 1.6 per cent of Irish goods exports going north, there are still plenty of opportunities for the further growth that exporting delivers."

"Brexit will affect firms on both sides of the border, but action now can help businesses prepare for the imminent challenges and opportunities that will arise," Mr Gough added.

Based in Newry, InterTradeIreland (ITI) provides SMEs across the island of Ireland with sales growth, innovation, business funding and business insight support.

The cross-border body has assisted over 39,000 businesses, created/protected 14,800 jobs and generated more than £1bn in business development value through its programmes and initiatives since it was established 20 years ago.

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