Goods worth €141bn exported last year; US and UK are strongest trade partners

Goods worth €141bn exported last year; US and UK are strongest trade partners

The United States is the main recipient of Ireland's exports, with over €39 billion of goods being exported to the USA last year.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today published Ireland’s Trade in Goods 2018, an analysis of Ireland's goods exports and imports for 2018.

Ireland exported €141 billion of goods last year and imported €92 billion.

The CSO report shows our biggest trading partners are the United Kingdom and the US. Imports from the UK were €20 billion in 2018, making it our largest import partner.

Food exports to the UK in 2018 were €4.8 billion, accounting for 43% of our total food exports.

  • There were €20 billion in goods imported from the UK, while goods exports to the UK totalled €16 billion.
  • More than two-fifths of our food exports in 2018 were to the UK, with a value of €4.8 billion.
  • Just under half of our total food imports of €7.8 billion in 2018 came from the UK.
  • Ireland exported €2.4 billion of milk, cheese and butter in 2018, and one-third of that went to the UK, while more than three-quarters of our imports of these goods, with a total value of €481 million came from the UK.
  • Over €1 billion of bovine meat was exported to the UK in 2018 which is over half of total bovine meat exports.
  • We exported over 90% of our cereals, and almost 80% of our fruit and vegetables to the UK in 2018, but just 8% of the total value of our seafood exports went to the UK.

Imports of petroleum products from the UK were €3.4bn while imports of medical and pharmaceutical products were €2.7bn in the year. Imports of food and beverages were almost €4.2bn in value, and imports of machinery and transport equipment were €3.6bn.

There were €17bn of imports from the USA in 2018, including imports of chemicals and related goods of €3.4bn, and imports of machinery and transport equipment to the value of €11bn.

France, Germany and China made up the remaining top five import partners.

Goods worth €141bn exported last year; US and UK are strongest trade partners

Medical and pharmaceutical products and organic chemicals comprised €25.8 billion, or 66% of the total exports to the USA in 2018.

Despite record pharma exports to the US, economist Dan O’Brien has urged caution due to potential US trade challenges.

"These figures are great news for the pharma sector and our exports generally, however, as a country which conducts more pharma trade with the US than anywhere else in the EU, we are the most exposed European region and as a result, vulnerable to potential transatlantic trade conflicts," Mr O'Brien said.

"As we close in on the upcoming US election, we should be cognisant of potential trading volatility, having seen Donald Trump punish both China and Canada this year, and we know he is no great fan of the EU.

"That said, Ireland’s relationship with the US has historically been a positive one, and with ever-deepening investment links between the two countries, there is reason to remain optimistic about the relationship."

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