But industry boss warns NI Protocol Bill has the capacity to hurt local manufacturers
Exports have brought an extra £1.5bn in “good, clean cash” into Northern Ireland’s economy over the past two years, though uncertainty remains over the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Manufacturing NI chief Stephen Kelly cautiously welcomed new figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office showing a continued jump in cross-border trade this year.
But he said that the NI Protocol Bill still had the capacity to hurt local manufacturers as confidence “drained away” in Northern Ireland’s trading ability.
Senior economist, Dr Esmond Birnie, has also warned that despite appearances of an improving economy, the protocol was acting as a “wrong way round industrial policy”.
While some manufacturers in food processing appeared to have thrived, Dr Birnie said other sectors like engineering that were more productive were struggling.
According to the CSO, the value of goods flowing from Northern Ireland into the Republic was up by 23% between January to May compared to the same time in 2021.
The increase was worth an estimated €357m (£302.8m), bringing the total flow to €1.939bn (£1.6bn).
The figure was even higher for goods that were coming from the south to Northern Ireland, with an increase of 42% bringing the total trade to €1.974bn (£1.674bn).
This is a jump of €586m (£497m) since the same period last year.
Elsewhere, the figures showed that imports from GB to the Republic were up by 71% to €2bn (£1.7bn) compared to May 2021, while exports to GB amounted to €1.5bn (£1.2bn).
Ireland’s overall exports amounted to €18bn (£15.2bn), which was an increase of nearly €4.5bn (£3.8bn) compared to the same time last year.