Business Barometer

Looking To Trade Internationally? Here's the markets others are focusing on.

With the effects of Brexit still hanging in the balance, many Irish companies may be forced to look to wider European markets, beyond the UK to safeguard future business. This week based on the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, we've analysed the main countries other Irish companies are currently trading into, and which markets have shown significant export growth since this time last year.

Looking at the European markets, Belgium… Appears To Be The Most Important Export Market In Terms of Value Of Goods Exported - Ranking Just Above The UK.

Data from the Central Statistics Office shows perhaps surprisingly that Belgium is the leading export country Irish companies are trading and exporting into. Belgium sits ahead of the UK in terms of total Irish exports at 10.91% compared to the UK at 10.76% in the period Jan - Aug 2019. The value of Irish company exports to Belgium equals €11.13 Billion.

Irish exports to Belgium are predominantly in medical & pharmaceutical products and organic chemicals. These two sectors combined represent 88% of all exports. Other important export products include ICT hardware, telecoms equipment and professional apparatus. (2) It should be noted that a proportion of goods that enter through Belgium ports are shipped onto other markets.

Following Belgium and the UK, Germany is the next most popular European market, with trade exports increasing by over 30% (€8.97bn vs €6,88bn) in Jan - Aug 2019 when compared to the same period last year. Germany now accounts for 8.79% of all Irish exports.

For markets beyond Europe, the United States remains our top export partner, with over EUR30.3bn worth of Irish exports.

The United States now accounts for 29.73% of all Irish exports. This appears to be a market that more Irish companies are looking towards, as it too has shown significant export growth up 17.3% (€30.34bn vs €25.85bn) for Jan - Aug 2019 when compared to the same period last year.

China is the second largest consumer outside of the EU, purchasing €5.67bn worth of Irish products and services. It too showed large export growth on the previous period (€5.97bn vs €3.30bn) and now accounts for 5.6% of Irish exports.

Other countries on the list include Netherlands consuming 5.70% of our exports.

Figures from Jan to Aug - Millions of EUR

1) USA 2018: 25,849 2019: 30,339

2) Belgium 2018:11,854 2019: 11,131

3) United Kingdom 2018:10,423 2019: 10,978

4) Germany 2018: 6,879 2019: 8,971

5) Netherlands 2018: 5,038 2019: 5,818

6) China 2018: 3,305 2019: 5,675

7) Switzerland 2018: 4,571 2019: 4,048

8) France 2018: 3,591 2019: 3,667

9) Other countries 2018:2,696 2019:3,067

10) Italy 2018:2,309 2019:2,547

11) Japan 2018:2,299 2019:1,955

12) Unknown 2018:1,229 2019:1,599

13) Spain 2018:1,717 2019:1,560

With more and more companies looking to export to new markets, as uncertainty continues to grow given Brexit, it is important to perform background checks, proper due diligence, and full credit risk assessments before supplying goods abroad and selling on credit to international businesses.

CRIF Vision-net offers our customers the ability to complete these checks and receive reports on 200m companies trading across the globe through our International Search facility.

To find out more, simply contact us today on Tel: +353 1 903 2660, Email: or follow this link:


(1) Central Statistics Office -

(2) Enterprise Ireland - Exporting to Belgium and Luxemburg

  By Business Barometer.

Issue 378 (Week Ending 22/10/2019)

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