Thursday, 11 March 2004

Questions (85)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

83 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which the profiles of Irish exports have changed in the past five years, having particular regard to Ireland’s shift from a low wage economy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8207/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

The table below sets out, on a year by year basis and ranked in order of magnitude, the top ten commodities exported since 1998. As can be seen from the table, the main commodities exported were computers, organic chemicals, medical and pharmaceutical products, electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and miscellaneous manufactured articles. These commodities have consistently remained at the top of the list until end November 2003 — the latest date for which figures are available.

Commodity

Nov-03

Dec-02

Dec-01

Dec-00

Dec-99

Nov-98

Grand Total

Computers

13,222,386

17,309,439

21,034,504

19,616,838

15,152,683

12,940,209

99,276,059

Organic Chemicals

14,247,984

17,378,629

17,117,880

16,897,510

11,394,108

9,946,284

86,982,395

Medical & Pharmaceuticals

12,407,620

15,669,893

8,975,122

5,311,737

4,815,062

4,212,398

51,391,832

Electric Machinery

4,711,307

10,564,768

10,164,508

7,915,992

5,135,803

4,212,243

42,704,621

Misc Manufactured articles

4,420,248

5,034,547

6,002,668

6,121,857

5,208,985

4,231,431

31,019,736

Telecommunications & Sound Equipment

1,196,699

2,635,456

3,657,621

3,736,537

3,582,147

2,150,442

16,958,902

Essential Oils; Perfume materials

3,754,560

3,160,548

3,140,935

2,355,172

2,448,689

2,012,418

16,872,322

Non-specified

2,594,085

2,588,485

2,782,972

2,561,689

2,110,931

1,930,355

14,568,517

Chemical Materials & other

2,201,766

2,223,569

2,295,192

1,940,869

1,862,762

1,414,117

11,938,275

Professional, Scientific & Controlling Apparatus

3,004,398

2,061,756

1,881,810

1,703,241

1,387,281

1,394,954

11,433,440

Grand Total

61,761,053

78,627,090

77,053,212

68,161,442

53,098,451

44,444,851

383,146,099

The above data refers to all exports, that is, commodities exported by foreign direct investment companies and indigenous Irish companies.

The Government's policy has for long been to assist indigenous companies to move up the value chain towards the higher value, higher wage end of the market. The policy with regard to the attraction of foreign direct investment into Ireland has also been to target companies engaged in higher value activities and with a higher wage structure. Enterprise Ireland is actively involved in assisting Irish companies to make the transition to the high end of the market in recognition of the fact that, ultimately, the future security of Irish companies depends on their ability to expand export volumes into international markets.