UK remains Ireland's biggest source of imports

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

image source, Reuters

The UK remains Ireland's largest source of goods imports according to latest official figures.

Ireland's Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed it bought UK goods valued at 19bn euro (£17bn) in 2017.

The UK and Ireland have highly integrated supply chains in food processing and distribution.

The figures show that the UK is Ireland's biggest partner for both exports (4.6bn euro/£4.1bn) and imports (3.7bn euro/£3.3bn) of food and drink.

The United States is Ireland's single biggest export destination, buying 33bn euro (£29bn) of goods in 2017.

That amounts to 27% of Ireland's goods exports. The UK is the next biggest destination taking 12% of exports worth 16bn euro (£14bn).

Export destinations

However the broader EU market remains a bigger customer with the top five EU export destinations taking 30% of Irish exports.

Ireland's largest export sector is chemicals and related products, reflecting the country's role in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

That sector accounts for 55% of the value of all Irish goods exports.

Commenting on the figures, Statistician Ciarán Counihan said: "Ireland's export trade was valued at 123bn euro (£110bn) in 2017, while there were 79bn euro (£70bn) of goods imported.

"Ireland exported 12.3bn euro (£10.9bn) of food and drink in 2017, of which 4.6bn euro (£4.1bn) went to the UK.

"Ireland's exports included 229,000 tonnes of cheese, 210,000 tonnes of butter, 165,000 tonnes of infant formula, 436 million litres of beer and 30 million litres of whiskey."

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