Exporting to Ireland

Ireland is an important trading partner for the UK and currently our fifth largest export market, with UK exports to Ireland worth £38.3 billion in 2018. Trade and foreign investment are encouraged and growth is strong. Its similarities to the UK make it an ideal market for first-time exporters.

Strong, growing economy

GDP growth was 6.8% in 2018 with 4.1% forecast for 2019. There are a number of sectors in Ireland that are expected to grow considerably, offering opportunities for UK companies. These include the construction, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical device sectors.

First-time exporters

Ireland is a good place for UK businesses to try exporting for the first time. It’s nearby and easy to get to. You will find that Ireland’s business practices are similar to the UK’s, as are its laws, systems of finance and broader culture.

Good perception of UK goods and services

There is a long history of strong trade between the UK and Ireland. Irish consumers and businesses are very familiar with UK goods and services and see them as high quality. UK companies receive positive support from local partners.

Ease of doing business


out of 190 countries, World Bank 2019



Business languages


GDP per capita


2018, IMF, UK is $42,560

Economic growth


2018, IMF

Time zone

GMT +0

Opportunities for exporters

Ireland is a world leader in life sciences, technology, financial services and software, and is home to many of the world’s top companies across a range of sectors. The country is also positioning itself to become a world leader in emerging areas, such as the internet of things, data, renewable energy, e-health and cyber security.

Doing business in Ireland

If you're planning to export to Ireland, make sure you're aware of the market's unique taxes, laws and challenges. Contact our trade advisers for more information.

Preparing to export

Tax and customs

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners is responsible for tax and customs matters in Ireland.


Most goods or services supplied in Ireland are subject to VAT. Various rates apply, including:

  • 23% standard rate
  • 13.5% on a number of labour intensive services
  • 9% on tourism goods and services
  • 4.8% on livestock
  • 0% on services supplied in the public interest such as food, medicine, children’s clothes, childcare and education


Products and packaging should meet EU standards.

Local standards and technical regulations may apply. You should seek legal advice or guidance from the appropriate regulatory agency in Ireland.

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property (IP) lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

The Irish Patents Office is responsible for IP legislation in Ireland.

Operating in Ireland

Doing business in Ireland is very similar to doing business in the UK. However, there are certain challenges you should be aware of. These include high business costs and strong competition from Irish and European suppliers.

Payment terms

Direct debit mandates, Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (BACS), Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and cheques are all widely used in Ireland.

Standard payment terms are usually 30 days. However, average payment days currently stand at 55 days.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.