Exporters urged to exploit Asian market after Brexit

Bilateral trade between Ireland and China likely to rise to €14 billion this year

Irish exporters should seek to exploit the Asian market following Britain's exit from the EU, with bilateral trade between the Republic and China likely to rise to €14 billion this year, according to a group that promotes links between Ireland and Asia.

Asia Matters, a business membership organisation, said the Republic should capitalise on links with China after the UK exits the European Union.

The group said there were “particularly strong” opportunities for trade between Ireland and China in the areas of agri-food, medical devices, aviation leasing, and high-tech industry.

The group stressed that Ireland is well-positioned to improve existing trade relations in the aftermath of Brexit, as it will become the sole country in the EU with a common-law legal system and where English is the primary language.


In 2015, two-way trade between Ireland and China was valued at €11.1 billion, up from €7 billion in 2013. Asia Matters said the figure for 2016 is likely to exceed €12 billion, and the forecast for 2017 is €14 billion.

Asia Matters executive director Martin Murray said it was "now vital" for Ireland to pivot to Asia. "The scale of opportunity is tremendous for Irish providers of quality products and services needed," he said.

“There is a massive post-Brexit opportunity to enhance trade relations between Ireland and China. On the one hand, by 2030, one in every eight people in the world will be living in a Chinese town or city. These are all target consumers.

“Now is a good time for Ireland to really stress the positive opportunities arising from Brexit: we already enjoy strong trade relations with China and, after Brexit, we will be the only English-speaking, common-law country in the EU.

“Businesses in Ireland will benefit from full EU-wide pass-porting of financial products traded from here; and they will have access to EU funding for research and innovation.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter