With a small domestic market, further expansion of our export sectors is essential to our continued and sustainable economic growth. Overall, export growth in Ireland in recent years has been exceptionally strong and exports continue to contribute positively to growth. According to CSO merchandise trade and balance of payments data, total exports have increased by 58 percent since 2012 to €283.7billion in 2017.
The Government’s Trade Strategy, ‘Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World’, supports an extensive programme of Ministerial-led trade missions, as part of a major drive towards market diversification. This includes markets that are growing and have scale as well as markets where we are already well established but with potential for further growth.
Within Ireland Connected, ambitious targets have been established for trade and investment. These include increasing our indigenous exports to reach €26 billion by 2020 - up by 26% from 2015, generating 30,000 more jobs in tourism by 2020 and €5 billion in overseas tourism revenues by 2025, and securing 900 new foreign direct investments in the period 2015-2019. Specifically, in relation to Brexit, the target is to intensify and diversify 80% of indigenous export growth to 2020 to be outside of the UK market and maintain exports of at least €7.5 billion to the UK.
In 2017, Enterprise Ireland launched its Eurozone Strategy as a key element of its supports to help companies diversify their export markets. In particular, it aims to increase exports to the Eurozone by €2bn per annum by 2020, equivalent to 50 percent increase. This would represent one of the most significant shifts in Enterprise Ireland supported client exports into the Eurozone and is particularly important in the context of Brexit.
More recently, Government’s Enterprise 2025 Renewed strategy published in March 2018 sets out targets for export growth and diversification within the indigenous exporting base, with ambitions to increase exports as a percentage of total sales of Irish owned companies from 52 percent to between 55 and 60 percent by 2020 and increase Enterprise Ireland client exports beyond UK markets from €14.1 billion to €17.4 billion by 2020. The strategy also targets a 50 percent increase in the number of FDI investments from non-US markets by 2020.