British-Irish chamber to mark close economic ties

Commercial relationship between two countries worth €1.2 billion a week

Bloodstock exports from the Republic to Britain were worth €204 million last year and Britain is the biggest market for Irish-bred horses. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Bloodstock exports from the Republic to Britain were worth €204 million last year and Britain is the biggest market for Irish-bred horses. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 01:00

The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce is going racing this week to help cement the trading relationship between the two countries that the latest figures show is worth some €1.2 billion a week.

The chamber is joining forces with Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin on Friday evening to host the historic King George V race day, to mark the close economic ties between the Republic and UK.

Steve Aiken, British-Irish Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said the latest figures show that the Republic exports €14 billion worth of goods to the UK annually, while about €27 billion come the other way.

“If the value of services is also included, this builds to an impressive €1.2 billion worth of economic activity per week,” he said. “For instance the UK represents the destination for around 42 per cent of Ireland’s food exports, with close to €1 billion in annual beef exports.”

British ambassador Dominick Chilcott and the Government are backing the event. Mr Chilcott said the evening would also focus on strong ties between the two countries’ horseracing and breeding industries.

“The thoroughbred industry is vital to the Irish economy, contributing nearly €1.1 billion a year with approximately 14,000 people employed in Ireland, whilst the UK is a major market for the sport horse sector,” said Mr Chilcott.

Bloodstock exports were worth €204 million last year and Britain is the biggest market for Irish-bred horses.