Cross-border trade reached £6.5bn in 2018 says new report

The value of cross border trade reached £6.5bn in 2018, IntertradeIreland has said. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Ryan McAleer

IRISH cross-border trade was worth £6.5 billion in 2018, despite the uncertainty around Brexit, InterTradeIreland (ITI) has said.

A new report from the all-island body, analysing performance during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019, found 39 per cent of firms in the north were in growth mode in Q4, down from 55 per cent during the third quarter (Q3) of last year.

The result has been an increase in the number of companies in the ‘stable’ category, which rose from 35 per cent in Q3 to 48 per cent in Q4.

But more worryingly, the latest ITI data found that one-in-three micro firms were at best, breaking even during the final three months of 2019.

The report also showed that more than one third of firms in the north are buying from suppliers in the Republic, while 29 per cent are operating below capacity.

Sourcing appropriate staff is also a growing concern, with firms citing lack of appropriate skills in the workforce (22 per cent) and difficulties in recruiting the right employees (27 per cent).

More than half of larger firms (56 per cent) have reported problems in this area, but the ITI report suggest it’s having an increasing impact on both smaller (26 per cent) and mid-sized firms (41 per cent).

Commenting on the latest research, Aidan Gough of ITI, said: “As the pace of technological change accelerates, both governments in Ireland and Northern Ireland are alive to the fact that the jobs market is changing rapidly and are responding with support to drive business towards sustainable production practices and greater use of new technologies.

“We are focused on delivering collaborative all-island trade and business development initiatives that support businesses to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of rapid advances in technology and the transition to a low carbon future.

“InterTradeIreland has a wide range of supports that are a powerful resource for companies who want to innovate and grow.”

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