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Brexit is a danger for Republic's exporters, paper warns

By Colm Kepie

Some Irish exporters have seen their dependence on the UK market increase since the turn of the millennium, even though the export share to the UK has declined, according to a study.

A new paper from the Republic's Department of Finance shows the extent to which some sectors are vulnerable to Brexit.

The importance of the UK to the Republic as a destination market for exports has declined over the last 40 years.

In the 1970s, the UK accounted for more than 50% of Irish exports, whereas in 2015 the figure was just 17%.

But that trend is reversed for certain sectors.

The paper states, for example, that Ireland's food and live animal exports to the UK have increased from 38% of the sector's total exports in 2000 to 46% in 2015.

Manufactured goods exports, meanwhile, have jumped from 43% in 2000 to 55% in 2015.

"The figures reveal that although at the aggregate level there is a long-term trend decline in the UK export share, certain sectors still have a high exposure to the UK, and for some this has increased over the past 15 years," the paper says.

Commodities and minerals exports have also seen their share of exports increase over the period.

However, the proportional exposure of the chemicals sector has fallen over time, as has machinery, beverages and tobacco and agricultural residuals.

The paper also states that 11 of the EU 27's top 15 most exposed products to the UK, on the proportional exposure measure, are Irish exports.

Included in the top five are agri-food sub sectors cereals, vegetables and fruit and live animal products.

"These sectors would face some of the highest tariffs if the EU-registered WTO tariff schedule was applied to EU-UK trade," the paper says.

"These findings have implications for the prospects of these sectors in the context of future trade negotiations between the EU and their vulnerability to post-exit UK trade policy."

The paper also states that the UK's intention to pursue new trade deals could have "substantial negative consequences for these most exposed sectors in the Irish economy as it would be a significant step change in the trading relationship that has developed since EU membership".

Meanwhile, the weak pound has made the M1 corridor in Ireland more challenging for forecourt retailer Applegreen, but chief executive Bob Etchingham said he was not concerned.

Belfast Telegraph

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