Goods imports to Republic from Britain down 21% since Brexit

CSO figures show imports from the North continue to soar

Imports of goods from Britain to the Republic staged a minor recovery in September, easing the rate of decline to 21 per cent for the first nine months of the year.

However, the latest trade figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show that Brexit continues to have an impact on Irish-British trade.

While imports from Britain have plunged, the value of goods exports from the Republic to Britain for the first nine months of 2021 is running up 23 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2020 and stands at €10.6 billion.

While goods imports from Britain edged up 2 per cent – a €35 million rise – in September compared to September 2020, exports from the Republic to Britain surged 36 per cent – an increase of €374 million – in the same month.


After dropping to just 7 per cent in August, exports to Britain accounted for 10 per cent of total exports from the Republic in September. The main changes in the month were increases in the export of chemicals, machinery and equipment.

Imports from Britain rose as a result of higher imports of mineral fuels, lubricants, chemicals and other related products, offsetting a drop in the value of imported food and live animals, as well as machinery and equipment. British imports for the first nine months stand at a value of €9.4 billion, down more than €2.4 billion year-on-year.

Meanwhile, imports from Northern Ireland continue to soar this year. In the first three quarters of 2021, they are up by more than €1 billion, a 60 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2020, at just above €2.8 billion.

Exports from the Republic to the North are also booming, up 48 per cent or €835 million at €2.58 billion for the first nine months.

In September, exports to the EU rose 5 per cent or €278 million compared to September 2020. The EU was the destination for 40 per cent of total goods exports in the month, while the US was the main non-EU destination, accounting for 29 per cent of total exports.

Source of imports

Imports from the EU to the Republic rose 16 per cent in September compared to the same month in 2020, an increase of €325 million. The EU accounted for 29 per cent of goods imports in the month, ahead of the UK on 21 per cent, the US on 20 per cent and China on 9 per cent.

Overall, seasonally adjusted goods exports increased €99 million to just above €14 billion in September compared to August, up 1 per cent, according to preliminary figures from the CSO.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports fell €369 million or 4 per cent to €8.3 billion, leading to a month-on-month increase of €468 million or 9 per cent in the Republic’s seasonally adjusted trade surplus, which stood at €5.7 billion in September.

Seasonal adjustment compares month-to-month data by removing fluctuations that may occur due to seasonal patterns in trade.

The unadjusted value of goods exports increased by €555 million or 4 per cent in September compared to September 2020, though it is down €1.3 billion or 1 per cent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2020.

Unadjusted imports in September increased almost €1.79 billion or 28 per cent compared to September 2020, and is up €11.4 billion or 19 per cent in the first nine months.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics