Minister says Government committed to growing Irish exports to UK

Humphreys leads trade mission to Manchester with Enterprise Ireland and 45 companies

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys: she said the UK would “remain the largest export market for indigenous Irish companies”

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys: she said the UK would “remain the largest export market for indigenous Irish companies”

 

The Government is committed to “consolidating and growing Irish exports to the UK now and into the future”, Minister for Business Heather Humphreys has said.

Speaking on Wednesday in advance of a trade mission to Manchester, Ms Humphreys said as Brexit negotiations continued the UK would “remain the largest export market for indigenous Irish companies”.

The trade mission, which also involves Enterprise Ireland, aims to sustain exports to the UK, and to support diversification of Irish companies within the market. It aims to capitalise on the “northern powerhouse” initiative advanced by the UK government in an attempt to rebalance its economy in the northern regions.

In particular, the UK government is seeking to improve public sector transport and other infrastructure, and to improve healthcare. Some budgetary measures have been devolved to the regions, with Manchester, for example, in the process of taking control of a healthcare budget of £6 billion (€7bn).

Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland’s director for the UK and northern Europe, said those plans present opportunities for Irish companies.

Growth potential

“The northern powerhouse has proven its powerful growth potential, now growing faster than London. While the uncertainty which Brexit brings remains a challenge for companies, we continue to see growth opportunities within the market, and we are expecting to see Irish exports to the UK grow.”

A report published in February by Enterprise Ireland, the State agency responsible for helping Irish businesses deliver export sales, also highlighted opportunities in the need for construction of around 500,000 new homes in the region and the development of new life-sciences facilities.

As part of this mission, the delegation, which includes 45 Irish companies, will meet with senior officials and decision-makers in the region, including the mayor of greater Manchester Andy Burnham.