Pharma trade boosts value of Irish exports by €2.2bn in January

Latest trade data point to continued pick-up in cross-Border trade in wake of Brexit

The value of goods exports from the Republic rose by €2.2 billion (+16 per cent) to €15.5 billion in January, according to the latest trade statistics from the Central Statistics Office.

The increase was driven by exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, which rose by 21 per cent to €7.2 billion, representing 44 per cent of the total value of exports in January.

Goods imports, meanwhile, increased by 6 per cent to €10.2 billion on the back of imports of electrical machinery and mineral fuels. This gave rise to a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of €5.3 billion in January.

The figures revealed the ongoing impact of Brexit.



Exports to Britain in January were €1.4 billion, an increase of €458 million or 48 per cent when compared with January 2021, with exports of chemicals and related products driving the increase.

Imports from Britain increased by 144 per cent to €1.8 billion compared with January 2021 with mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, chemicals and related products, and machinery and transport equipment all up.

Imports from Britain fell by 13 per cent last year with firms complaining of increased customs requirements.

The fall-off in imports has coincided, however, with a pick-up in cross-Border trade on the island of Ireland.

The January numbers show imports from Northern Ireland rose by €79 million (+36 per cent) to €300 million when compared with January 2021, while exports to Northern Ireland increased by 50 per cent to €322 million.


Under the Northern Ireland protocol, trade in goods with Britain is subject to customs checks. However, while Northern Ireland remains within the customs territory of the UK, it is simultaneously within the European Union single market for the movement of goods.

This means goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic are not subject to customs checks.

The EU accounted for €6.5 billion (39 per cent ) of total goods exports in January of which €1.9 billion went to Germany and €1.65 billion went to Belgium.

The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €5.4 million (33 per cent) of total exports.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times