Exporting guide to Ireland
Strong, growing economy
GDP growth was 13% in 2021 (IMF, projected figures, last updated: October 2021). 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 devices), agritech and energy sector (off-shore wind and renewables).
Ireland is a good place for UK businesses to try exporting for the first time, as business practices, laws, systems of finance and broader culture are similar to the UK. However, a set of competitive and strong product and service USPs are important to succeed in a competitive market environment.
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.
Ireland: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
The UK and Ireland have a long history of trade. Ireland is a world leader in a number of advanced sectors, with a large pool of Irish and multinational companies. Irish consumers are well informed and affluent, with a positive perception of UK goods and services.
Supply chain opportunities
Opportunities are available to enter the supply chain of Irish based manufacturers in both pharmaceuticals and medical technology. These companies import goods and materials to be used in the production process, and your company can be added to their supplier lists.
Demand for medical devices
UK companies have the potential to meet demand for medical devices in Ireland. Items that particularly interest the market include instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical and veterinary. There is a demand for needles, syringes, catheters and sterilisers. Export opportunities also exist for orthopaedic products, artificial body parts and hearing aids.
Healthcare sector opportunities
The HSE is moving to provide more care locally within primary care and community settings. It’s also seeking more digital health solutions. It plans to do 80% of its business with SMEs, with centralised procurement. UK companies can also focus on private sector facilities (hospitals and nursing homes).
Large-scale infrastructure projects
The Irish government has unveiled Project Ireland 2040, a €116 billion plan which aims to guide Ireland’s development over the next 22 years. This will deliver significant investments in transport and infrastructure including roads, airports, rail, housing and urban regeneration.
Demand for construction materials
There’s growing demand for imports of aluminium, glass, iron and steel, plaster, and stone. The sector is also in need of building blocks, bricks, slate, granite and tiles, as well as machinery, machine tools and parts for the diverse range of building projects.
Opportunities for suppliers
UK companies can be listed as a supplier with building providers and agents, large developers, contractors, Irish companies involved in the manufacturing of construction materials and equipment, and large DIY and hardware stores. Contact our trade advisers for more information.
Demand for new technologies
UK companies could meet demand in the Irish market for new agricultural technologies. The Irish agricultural industry is an advanced system that focuses on high yields and efficient methods. Agricultural machinery, farm management software, grass management and dairy technologies, amongst other products and services, are in demand.
Focus on sustainability
Resource usage is critically important in terms of water, carbon footprint, and land usage. Increasingly, Ireland is moving towards the sustainable production of quality food. UK expertise, and technologies aimed at improved resource usage, will do well in the Irish market.
Scale of Irish agriculture
Ireland has long been an agricultural nation. The country covers an area of 69,798 km² with agricultural land making up 71.6% and forest land 11%. There are over 137,500 farms in operation. As such, the opportunity for exporting to Ireland is large.
New sector opportunity
Despite the pending commercial opportunities, the Irish supply chain is still developing. Projects therefore rely on external companies coming to market, especially in the CAPEX phase, to lend support throughout. The projected 3.5GW in installations to be built by 2030 are estimated to have a lifetime spend of around €17 billion.
Potential for collaboration
With the Irish supply chain still developing, there is a keen interested within the business and research community to collaborate on projects and learn from UK companies with extensive expertise in the planning, management and build of OSW projects.
Demand for innovation
The development of floating OSW offers high potential. This is an attractive technology for Ireland’s West Coast, where higher wind rates offer greater electricity generation. This sub-sector offers first-mover advantages for technology development on a commercial scale.