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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

Ireland is a very open economy, and therefore very dependent on the international economic situation. Trade accounted for 216% of GDP in 2015.

The Irish trade balance is structurally surplus. In 2016, the trade surplus reached EUR 47.3 billion, compared to EUR 42.3 billion in the previous year. Exports increased by 4%, reaching a record level of EUR 116.9 billion, while imports decreased by 1%. The decline in demand from the United Kingdom (due to the fall in the pound sterling following Brexit) was offset by dynamic growth in exports to China and the United States, which is expected to continue in 2017.

The main imports are air aircrafts, medicine, automatic data-processing machines, oil and petroleum products and automobiles. The country mainly exports medicines, industrial raw materials, biological materials and medical devices. Ireland's main trading partners are the European Union (the United Kingdom is the main market for imports and the second largest for exports), the United States, China and Switzerland.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 62,76965,85373,08971,33675,385
Exports of Goods (million USD) 116,773114,356118,908120,439128,085
Imports of Services (million USD) 119,615123,550145,054151,566191,939
Exports of Services (million USD) 109,507122,703134,651127,713146,678
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.41.115.321.710.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.43.114.434.42.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 89.687.395.992.296.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 106.8106.1113.8124.0119.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 55,69349,99057,751122,606113,867
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 196.4193.4209.7216.2216.7

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
United States 25.8%
United Kingdom 12.8%
Belgium 12.6%
Germany 6.7%
Switzerland 5.4%
Netherlands 5.1%
France 4.3%
China 2.6%
Spain 2.5%
Japan 2.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
United Kingdom 23.8%
United States 16.5%
France 12.5%
Germany 9.6%
China 5.9%
Netherlands 3.7%
Switzerland 2.1%
Italy 2.0%
Belgium 2.0%
Japan 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

129.3 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 15.3%
Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only 11.2%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 8.3%
Mixtures of odoriferous substances and mixtures, incl. alcoholic solutions, based on one or more of these substances, of a kind used as raw materials in industry; other preparations based on odoriferous substances, of a kind used for the manufacture of beverages 6.2%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 4.8%
Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 4.2%
Orthopaedic appliances, incl. crutches, surgical belts and trusses; splints and other fracture appliances; artificial parts of the body; hearing aids and other appliances which are worn or carried, or implanted in the body, to compensate for a defect or disability 4.1%
Sulphonamides 3.8%
Nucleic acids and their salts, whether or not chemically defined; heterocyclic compounds (excl. with oxygen only or with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only) 3.5%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 2.9%
77.0 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 17.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.6%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 3.4%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 2.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.6%
Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only 2.1%
Nucleic acids and their salts, whether or not chemically defined; heterocyclic compounds (excl. with oxygen only or with nitrogen hetero-atom[s] only) 1.7%
Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 1.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

276.7 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Computer and information services
46.01%
Other business services
22.98%
Insurance services
8.89%
Financial services
8.00%
Transportation
4.99%
Royalties and license fees
4.59%
Travel
3.51%
Communications services
0.54%
Government services
0.25%
Cultural and recreational services
0.24%
287.6 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Royalties and license fees
44.80%
Other business services
35.87%
Financial services
6.16%
Insurance services
5.52%
Travel
4.21%
Transportation
1.70%
Communications services
0.90%
Computer and information services
0.60%
Cultural and recreational services
0.21%
Government services
0.04%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Euro (EUR)
Exchange Rate Regime
De facto exchange rate.
Level of Currency Instability
No specific regulation.
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20112012201320142015
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.720.780.750.750.90

Source: The European Central Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Main International Economic Cooperation
As a member of the European Union Ireland is signatory to preferential trade agreements, current trade agreements, the Lome Convention and the Generalised System of Preferences for Developing Countries (GSP).
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
Yes

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Certificates of Origin: required for the importation of any Textile products valued at over 45 Euros. Exceptions from this requirement include marked and mutilated samples; luggage made up of textile materials, canvas bags, and bona-fide gifts, personal effects. A Certificate of Origin has to be provided for every commodity subject to import licensing and /or quota restrictions from some origin countries.

Certificate of Origin Form A: may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under the various agreements of Generalized System of Preferences. It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in the possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Origin of the goods must be detailed on the commercial invoice.

EUR 1 form Import: may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under various bilateral agreements by the European Union countries and some specific countries or groups of countries. It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Origin of the goods must be detailed on the commercial invoice.

Commercial Invoices: are required for all dutiable shipments relating to commercial transactions between companies, companies and individuals, regardless of the value. Commercial invoices should show freight, insurance and similar charges as separate items when applicable, regardless of the INCOTERM used on the transaction. A party, who is knowledgeable of the transaction, must furnish translation, if requested.

Dangerous Goods Certification: some goods will require DG certification i.e. Perfumes, Liquor, Chemicals, etc.

Air Waybill: is required as evidence of the consignee's right to make entry.

Declaration of Antiquity: must be shown on the invoice for goods over 100 years old.
For Further Information
Irish Tax and Customs
Department of Foreign Affairs
Department of Finance
Non Tariff Barriers
Ireland’s international trade policies are formulated and developed in the context of the evolving EU Common Commercial Policy. Agricultural products are protected within the Common Agricultural Policy and textile products from China, Belarus, North Korea, Montenegro, Kosovo and Uzbekistan are subject to specific formalities and import licenses or control procedures (export document, monitoring document).
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
For dispute including Ireland, visit the website of the World Trade Organization
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Ireland and the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States

Learn more about How to Export to Ireland on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
National Standards Authority
Integration in the International Standards Network
Obligation to Use Standards
All companies have to follow the "Irish Companies Act" and have to be yearly audited and follow the regulations of the Auditing Practices Board (APC).
Classification of Standards
The CE marking is the European certification mark. The Irish National Standards Body is the NSAI. A list of Irish standards can be found at www.standards.ie.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
 
Online Consultation of Standards
National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)
Certification Organisations
European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation
European Telecommunications Standards Institute
European Committee for Standardization
Associations of Standards Users
European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA)
Irish National Accreditation Board
International Accreditation Forum
International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation

 

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Last Updates: August 2017