Belfast Telegraph

Don't dismiss the Republic of Ireland's signs of growth...it's all good

BY DAVID ELLIOTT

News the Republic has managed to pull itself out of recession has been greeted as a bit of a damp squib by economists and others in the know.

They'd been expecting more than double the 0.4% increase in economic output over the second quarter of the year and were left a bit crestfallen after the figure was revealed.

Despite such a reaction, we in Northern Ireland can take heart from the fact our biggest customer is getting better – slowly – but it's definitely getting better.

Nowhere buys more of our goods and services than the Republic and watching demand from across the border drop off a cliff over the last few years has been difficult for all concerned.

That would certainly help the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce's admirable aim of encouraging companies here to do something briliant to get the economy back on its feet.

It's a sad but true fact that we've become so used to hunkering down and hoping the worst effects of recession pass us by that exporting to the Republic just a few miles away is in fact considered a brilliant thing to do.

But it's not particularly surprising when you learn than only 2% of all companies here are actively involved in exporting.

With any luck the return to growth of the economy across the border, albeit with a hard road to climb still, should bode well for us, but if we really want to do something different we need to be targeting markets further afield.

That means the rest of the UK, Europe, the US, in fact anywhere in the world where our goods and services are needed.

Some of our more humble companies might think that's a step too far but if we're going to do something brilliant we need to think brilliant.

Tapping into other markets, particularly ones like those in the US which are further down the recovery road than our own, is just that and will result in brilliant results for all.

Belfast Telegraph

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