The Irish Times view of the impact of Brexit on Irish trade: temporary or long lasting?

Clear signs of the impact of the UK’s exit on Irish exports and imports

Dublin Port - a key gateway for trade between Ireland and Britain. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Dublin Port - a key gateway for trade between Ireland and Britain. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Will the trade impact of Brexit for Ireland be long-lasting or temporary? Signs so far this year are that Brexit is having a significant effect on company decisions and thus on trade patterns. It is difficult to disentangle how much of this is due to changes in the way existing trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain is reorganised and how much is a change in underlying trade patterns. But there can be little doubt that what is happening is important.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show some dramatic patterns in the first half of this year, with exports from the Republic to the North up to €1.576 billion from €1.1 billion the previous year and imports up to €1.774 billion from just under €1 billion.

Some of this may reflect company reorganisations – for example British companies establishing operations in the North to sell into the Republic. But fundamental trade patters are reacting as well to the new controls between Ireland and Britain and the free trade between the two parts of this island. Irish exports to Britain remain strong, but may take a hit when Britain implements more detailed controls later this year. Meanwhile the presence of new barriers has led to a slump in food imports into Ireland from Britain.

There is an overall economic cost here to all sides, even if some companies win out

While it will take some time for all of this to settle down the trends are not surprising. Trade barriers, even if they just involve new checks and controls, impose a cost and these lead companies to change their behaviour.

Trade between Britain and Ireland will take a hit over time due to Brexit, while between the Republic and the North business should increase. There is an overall economic cost here to all sides, even if some companies win out. Underlying all this, meanwhile, is the ongoing uncertainty about the Northern Ireland protocol. Some businesses will be holding off to see what happens here.

Fortunately for Ireland, overall export trends remain strong, though Brexit provides an ongoing threat to some sectors. As ever, businesses just have to get on with it, but we are seeing the first signs of the fundamental impact of the UK’s exit from the EU trading regime and of the Northern Ireland protocol which keeps the North in important parts of the Single Market.

Business Today

Get the latest business news and commentarySIGN UP HERE
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.