16th March 2012
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Friday) welcomed the latest merchandise trade figures published by the Central Statistics Office, which showed:
- a 10% increase in exports in January 2012 compared with January 2011,
- the trade surplus in January increased 20% to €3.2billion
As well as these figures for January last, the statistics also provide a detailed breakdown of merchandise trade for the full year 2011, Highlights for last year included:
- a 4% increase in exports for 2011 over 2010
- the trade surplus for 2011 was €44.7bn, the highest annual surplus on record
- exports of dairy products increased by 24%, meat by 15% and Medical and Pharmaceutical products by 9%
- exports to key target countries were up significantly - Brazil by 20%, Russia, by 37% and India 34%, compared to 2010.
These figures follow the most recent Eurostat data showing that for the full year, 2011, Ireland had the third largest trade surplus in absolute terms in the EU, behind Germany and (narrowly) the Netherlands. It was notable that many of the larger countries had very significant deficits.
Speaking from San Francisco, where he is officiating on a trade and investment promotion programme, Minister Bruton said:
“This Government have consistently pointed out that a strong export performance will be crucial to achieving the economic and jobs recovery we are all working so hard for. The strong performance of our exports in 2011 confirms the potential for a wider recovery in the economy. The Action Plan for Jobs contains a focus on developing new export markets and driving key sectors with high growth potential, including Lifesciences and Agrifood. It commits to the delivery of a number of key measures to improve our performance in this area, including the establishment of a new Potential Exporters Division in Enterprise Ireland which I launched last week and builds on the new tax relief introduced in the Budget for companies locating staff in the BRIC countries in an attempt to develop new markets”.
“Despite the warnings of some commentators about our exports, recent weeks and months have seen some encouraging signs in the global economy as well as some further signs that the Irish economy has stabilised and is returning to sustainable growth. In this context, today’s announcement that our exports are up 10% year-on-year is very welcome.
“However we must do more. Here in the United States the Irish and multinational companies I have met are highly ambitious about the potential to further grow exports. With proper implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs I am determined that we can build on this performance to ensure that we see a return to sustainable economic and employment growth”.
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