The majority of exports to the Republic of Ireland were in the food and beverages sector accounting for nearly £1 billion, an increase of 15% on the previous year. In particular exports of meat and meat preparations, cereals and cereal production and dairy products and birds' eggs increased by 27.2%, 22.6% and 19.6% respectively.
It is also the UK’s fifth largest export market and imports more from the UK than any other country. Northern Ireland products were included in the £27 billion of goods and services from the UK to Ireland in 2012.
The Republic is currently the largest export market for Northern Ireland food and drink. Many other sectors avail of the opportunities provided e.g. construction.
The Republic's close proximity and easy transport links make it an ideal first step market for Northern Ireland companies especially small and medium sized enterprises.
The Republic is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 7% from 1995-2004 and 7.7% in the past year. Agriculture, once the most important sector, has been over taken by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and 29% of the workforce. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment.
The nation hosts nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies and seven of the top ten global information and communications technology companies.
Invest NI’s Business Information Centre offers access to a wide range of current documentary and online databases covering all aspects of doing business in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, Food and Drink companies can access advice and practical support including lead generation from Invest NI’s Trade advisory staff in the Republic.
Invest NI also works closely with InterTradeIreland on its initiatives to help promote trade with the Republic.
The success of Northern Ireland's flourishing food sector has also led to significant business in the Republic for companies such as Moy Park, Kettyle Irish Foods, Hannan Meats, Wilson’s Country, Yummy Bakes, Genesis Bakery, Kearney Blue Cheese, Strathroy Dairies, Broighter Gold and Deli-Lites.
Doing business in Ireland is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there is a good chance you will be successful in Ireland.
However, there are certain challenges when doing business in or with Ireland that you should be aware of. These include:
Direct debit mandates, Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (BACS), Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and cheques are all widely used in Ireland. Standard payment terms are usually 30 days. However, average payment days currently stand at 62.
Ireland’s budget deficit, while steadily falling, will be about 7.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013. Ireland remains on course to hit the ‘Stability and Growth Pact’ limit of below 3% by the end of 2015.
Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies. Goods manufactured in the UK are exempt from import duties.
There are strong trade ties between both countries. The UK exported £19 billion in goods to Ireland in 2013.
The main exports by value are:
The top 10 UK export categories to Ireland in 2013