The Eurozone is the top market for Irish-based exporters but the presence of Irish-owned firms in the 18-country single market ex-Ireland is low at a time when Brexit is a threat to indigenous firm exports to the UK.

 

The Euro Area accounted for almost a third of adjusted headline exports (goods + services) in 2016 compared with 17% ratios for both the United Kingdom and the United States (*see calculation at the bottom of the page).

However, indigenous tradeable exports of €3bn to the single market according to data from Enterprise Ireland (EI)  — the state enterprise agency for Irish-owned firms — account for only 1.2% of the 32% Eurozone share of total exports value in 2016.

Globalisation has been a remarkable success for countries as diverse as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and China, but the lesson for Ireland from the perverse British decision to depart from its biggest trading market — which accounted for 44% of total UK exports in 2016 — is that Ireland needs a more balanced economy with a stronger indigenous international sector.

The Irish conventional wisdom was not prepared for Brexit, and a credible plan to meet the challenges of the coming 20 years is now required. There are no short-term magical remedies and durable positive economic change typically happens over multiple election cycles.

Besides future external risks to the FDI (foreign direct investment) model, there is already evidence of an unbalanced economy: material standard of living per capita in 2016 based on Eurostat data of consumption of public and private goods and services, adjusted for pricing differences, was below the EU and Euro Area averages and in line with Italy’s, despite the latter’s near-stagnation in a decade. Private sector occupational pension coverage at about 40% of the workforce (page 187 of report) coupled with low pay among many of the two-thirds of the sector workforce that are not in exporting firms, contrast with Denmark — a successful high-wage knowledge economy.

The serious challenges for Ireland, which are covered below are: 1) high reliance on foreign-owned firms 2) missing trade performance data 3) a low number of exporting firms 4) low new business startup rate 5) low innovation 6) low workforce skills and 7) low foreign language competence.

Ireland-UK trade

Globalisation has significantly reduced the Republic of Ireland's historical dependence on the United Kingdom but it remains significant for indigenous exporters. The Republic is also a very important market for both Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The UK last had an annual trade surplus in 1998 but its trade with the Republic has been in surplus every year since then. In 2015 the goods and services surplus with Ireland at  £7bn was the highest in the European Union among deficits with 23 countries while Ireland provided the UK with the fourth biggest surplus in the world after the United States, Switzerland, and Gulf Arab countries ex-Saudi Arabia as a group, according to the British Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2016 Ireland was the UK’s fifth largest trade partner for UK export of goods and there was a balance in food and drinks trade between the two countries with exports on both sides at about €4.4bn.

"Ireland imports more goods from Britain than the rest of Europe combined," the British Irish Chamber of Commerce said in 2013.

The UK is the top market for Irish indigenous exporters and according to the Enterprise Ireland (EI), the proportion of exports to the UK fell from 45% in 2005 to about 37% last year.

The UK accounts for about 40% of total food and drinks exports and the impact of the June 2016 UK vote to leave the European Union, already had an adverse impact in the second half of the year.

Growth in indigenous exports to the UK in 2016 slowed from 12% in 2015 to 2% in companies supported by the EI agency reflecting the post-referendum plunge in sterling, while total global sales grew by 6% to €21.6bn.

In 1922 on its formation, the Irish Free State had one-third of the industrial production of the island and income per capita was at 56% of Great Britain's — by 1957 it had fallen to 49%. Today Northern Ireland has employment in manufacturing that is a third of the Republic of Ireland's and the Republic is the biggest external market for the North's manufacturing exports, accounting for almost a third of its exports. See here.

Agriculture dominated exports in the first half-century of independence and we were also heavily dependent on the UK. In 1949, CSO data show that 91% of Ireland’s exports went to the UK (page 91 of the report). This was followed by The Netherlands at 2.4%, Belgium at 2.1%, and the US with a less than 1% share. Live animals and food accounted for more than two-thirds of export value.

In 1960 Ireland's exports to the UK accounted for 75% of the total value (see chart based on OECD data) and we had a goods and services export ratio to gross domestic product (GDP) of 29.5% according to the World Bank.

By 1973 the UK ratio was down to almost 55% (helped by rising FDI) — the year Ireland joined the then European Economic Community (EEC) — the US ratio was at 10% in 1973 and 21% in 2003, when the UK ratio had fallen to 18% while the EU-15 (prior to the big enlargement of 2004) ex-UK, had a ratio of 43% in 2003 from 21% in 1973 (see table on page xii in this CSO report).

Food, Drink & Tobacco was the dominant export category in 1973 with a 43% share; by 2003 Chemicals & Related Products had a dominant share of goods exports of 43% and 57% in 2016 (as noted below, domestic materials purchases+ services by the Chemicals sector are low. 

While diversification of trade was important, the experiences of other small countries such as The Netherlands and Denmark show that our strengths as a food producer could have been better exploited including in for example the fisheries industry.

The Netherlands is the world's second-biggest agri-food exporter after the US and The National Geographic says that the small country "has become an agricultural giant by showing what the future of farming could look like."

Irish exports from 1960, destinations, UK

Irish export destinations 1960-2007 Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
EEC7: European Economic Community (renamed the European Union from 1993) members in 1973 ex-Ireland & UK

1) high reliance on foreign-owned firms

Patrick Honohan, then Central Bank governor, noted in a speech in March 2014 that the FDI model "has been a significant driver of Ireland's success" but the "systemic dependence on foreign capital and know-how has skewed Irish development. In the interests of robust diversification, most Irish economists observers would hope for a greater convergence towards normality in this aspect of Irish economic development, with a stronger emergence of innovative Irish companies alongside those steered from abroad."

Central Statistics Office (CSO) data for 2015 and 2016 show the headline export values as €318bn and €319bn in the respective years. In determining market shares we use €250bn for 2016 as we exclude foreign contract manufacturing, which is mainly related to tax avoidance.

Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation data for 2015 (page 5 of the main report), based on a survey of state enterprise agency client firms, show an 89:11 percentage breakdown for FDI (foreign direct investment) and Irish-owned firms on total tradeable exports of €171bn in 2015.

Based on indigenous tradeable exports plus inward tourism and transport (airlines + freight) Finfacts estimates the percentage breakdown at 18:82* (see the bottom of the page).

However, the lopsided export data masks the serious threat posed by Brexit.

In 2015 in the client firms of the enterprise agencies, there were 197,000 directly employed in FDI firms and 191,000 in Irish-owned firms. The latter spent €22bn on payroll, materials, and services in the economy compared with €21bn spent domestically by FDI firms.

Payroll accounted for half the total spend in FDI firms and one-third in Irish-owned firms.

Chemicals and Related Products such as medical devices accounted for 57% of goods exports of €117bn in 2016 while food + drinks accounted for over 9% but in the latter sector Irish-owned firms, which are dominant, spent €8.4bn on Irish materials and services in 2015 while FDI firms in drugs and medical devices purchased a total of €2.7bn in Ireland.

In November 2015, Catherine Mann, chief economist of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a think-tank for 35 mainly rich countries, said in Dublin that Ireland will have to sell itself as more than just a low-tax destination in the new era of global tax transparency. She also highlighted the poor links between the FDI sector and the rest of the economy, with Ireland having one of the lowest EU spends on R&D (research and development), despite housing some of the most innovative firms in the world.

"Global capital has come into Ireland...but somehow it hasn't translated into Irish-owned firms," said Dr. Mann. "The patents are here, but they're not being linked into the domestic economy, not being levered up by domestic firms or married to domestic workers." 

2) missing trade performance data

For decades the underperformance of the Irish indigenous international trading sector has been masked by the data of the dominant FDI exporting sector.

Good analysis requires robust data but Ireland typically is among a small number of European countries that is unable to provide complete enterprise datasets for Eurostat and the OECD.

For example, Ireland and Luxembourg could not provide data on the activity of SME (small/medium-size firms up to 249 employees) firm activity in intra and extra-EU trade.

Product churning has increased because of globalisation and most new products fail. According to GfK, the German market research firm, only "one in ten new products is still on the shelf 12 months after it has been launched" — and even the biggest names experience rejection.

Researchers at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in a report published last April noted that "the decomposition of export growth shows that the extensive margin — introducing new products and entering new markets — is extremely important."

The Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation told Finfacts in 2012 that the enterprise agencies do not commission longitudinal studies, which would track successes and failures over long periods.

Finfacts reported last December on high growth firms: Tiny number of young firms account for most net job creation

Tracking the successes/ failures of entrants/ exits to export markets, and startups are crucial. 

Related to missing Irish data raised above, are 'born global' startups which export in the year of their birth or the following year.

In a 3-year period born global startups accounted for 2.5% of new firms in 5 Nordic countries with the highest concentration in Denmark and Iceland. Research shows a survival rate of born globals is considerably higher than that of other new enterprises and a considerable number begin to export already in their birth year, supporting findings in other studies that very few of the other new enterprises begin to export goods later on. The analysis also shows that the average number of employees per born global is at least twice as high as in the other new enterprises and that employment in born globals grows much more as well. See from page 93 of this report on the Nordic countries

 

The FT’s Daniel Dombey explains the six most likely Brexit scenarios

3) a low number of exporting firms

Ireland has one of the lowest ratios of exporters in the EU, to both total enterprises, employer enterprises, and population.

This is a big problem as domestic companies look to new markets to replace possible declines in indigenous exports to the UK market post-Brexit.

Developing new overseas markets is generally a hard slog but when there is an insufficient number making the effort, success becomes more elusive, and that has been the record of Irish indigenous firms over the past 60 years despite low corporate taxes and employer social security costs.

There are no official data published on the number of Irish-based exporting firms. However, in recent years Enterprise Ireland has confirmed to Finfacts that it has about 3,000 client firms and coupled with about 1,300 client companies of IDA Ireland — the inward direct investment agency — and estimates for retailers including online, and wholesalers, our total is an estimated 6,000 exporters. This is broadly consistent with research published this year on goods and services exports by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

In relating the number of exporting firms to enterprises, it's more meaningful to focus on employer firms rather than all enterprises. The OECD has data for several countries but not Ireland. However, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) publishes separate self-employment firm data where there are employees. We have added an estimate for joint-stock companies giving us a proxy for employer enterprises of 95,000.

The Irish firm exporting ratio relative to employer firms is 6.3%.

On the same basis, the ratio for Denmark is 27% with 27,500 exporters — Ireland has a population of 4.7m and Denmark's population is at 5.7m.  

Recent OECD data for exporters  combined with Eurostat 2016 data for employer firms, gives a ratio of 17.5% for Germany based on 317,000 exporters; 9.6% in France based on 109,400 exporters; 17.4% for the UK based on 133,200 exporters; 22.2% for Austria based on 43,100 exporters; 15% for Finland based on 15,300 exporters and 36.8% in The Netherlands based on 123,000 exporters.

Greece has a ratio of 6.6% based on 18,000 exporters — Greece was labelled in a 2014 European Commission paper as the most closed economy in the EU. Its ratio of exporters is similar to Ireland's but we have had a successful FDI model.

France reported in 2017 that it had 124,100 goods exporters in 2016 (national and harmonised data can differ) and about 28,300 were new to exporting — the latter is an interesting statistic as the French Treasury reported in 2009: "When they export, they export to just one or two countries, generally to neighbouring countries, and 30% fail to hold onto their market for more than a year. German SMEs (small and medium size firms with up to 249 employees), which are larger and more innovative, are also bigger exporters, with exports accounting for a larger share of their total revenue, and they also export more regularly."

Only 1.5% of Irish-owned services firms export according to the ESRI.

4) low new business startup rate 

The number of Irish owner-manager firms with employees was 91,500 in 1998 and also 91,500 in March 2017 according to CSO data.

In the roughly 20-year period, total employment rose from 1.505m people to 2.045m while the overall population grew from 3.6m in 1996 to 4.7m in 2016.

CSO data also show that 305,000 jobs were lost in the Irish economy between Q1 2008 and Q1 2011. In the subsequent six years to Q1 2017, employment grew by 204,300 people while the number of owner-manager firms with employees fell from 92,000 to 91,500.

In 2007 the number of these employer firms (excluding joint stock firms and cooperatives) peaked at 121,600 ─ and subsequently fell by 25% in the decade to 2017.

These are net figures but when the property bubble burst we reverted back to the dilemma outlined above of having few exporting firms. Élan Corporation — once the 20th most valuable drugs company in the world — was reduced to a shell and sold, while IONA Technologies was also acquired by a US firm. Ryanair stands apart as the most successful new indigenous firm of the past 30 years. 

There was a rise in self-employment with no employees of 19,000 in the period 2011-2017 but that could be mainly explained by a rise from an unexplained dip in agricultural employment in 2009.

Eurostat estimated an employer enterprise birth rate of 5.6% for Irish firms of 1-4 employees in 2014 and 1.27% for Irish firms with 5-9 employees.

OECD employer enterprise birth rates for 2014 are typically in double-digits or close: France 11.3%; Germany 10.5%; UK 15.2%; Netherlands 9.2%; Spain 10.2%; Sweden 10.3% and Denmark 12.4%.

Death rates were also high reflecting the then poor European economy.

The UK data show that it is the most dynamic big economy with a high number of entrants and exits. However, UK data also show why total self-employment numbers are unreliable as a proxy for entrepreneurship, concealing involuntary self-employment and ‘dependent’ contractors who work for only one firm.

In the period 2007-2016, British owner-managed firm numbers fell by 79,000 to 756,000 while the self-employed with no employees, expanded by 984,000 to 3.9m.      

Entrepreneurship data can be confusing and in August, Dick Ahlstrom in The Irish Times reported:

The country is seemingly awash with entrepreneurs, men and women opening startups. There were 35,000 new business owners in 2016 according to an annual survey, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor released...by Enterprise Ireland. If the figures are correct — which I am sure they are — this means that one in every 23 people here is a new business owner.

The survey report does say “In Ireland, there was an estimated 35,000 new business owners in 2016” but “new” is up to 42 months from January 2013 and salaries must have been paid for at least three months.

The GEM  report also noted that Ireland was among the lowest three of 25 European countries for the ratio of owner-manager firms.

On goods exporters, ESRI data show that "The survival probability in the first year of export activity is 60% for Irish exporters while for foreign-owned firms is around 80."

5) low innovation

Despite the presence of significant units of some of the world's most innovative companies in Ireland, "Patenting, in particular, is noticeably low compared to the innovation leaders, and more recently compared to Singapore, which has now overtaken Ireland in filing volume," according to an international report.

Some international innovation/ R&D rankings include US firms which are domiciled in Ireland for tax purposes, in Irish data, and data are also boosted by multinational distortions in Irish national accounts.

Google and Facebook account for about a third of global revenues booked in Ireland while the Microsoft ratio is 25%. Together with other companies such as Oracle, this means that ICT (information and communications technology) services exports are overstated by about €60bn while total headline services exports were valued at €133bn in 2016.

US research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated in 2013 that there were 46,000 tech professionals working in the broad Irish ICT sector — almost half the sector total, meaning that the other half were working in administrative positions such as marketing and sales.

A report published by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in 2016 stated that Irish research and development activity is largely carried out by foreign multinationals and there have been limited spillovers to SMEs.

The JRC said patenting in Ireland was low compared to innovation leaders and "a small number of firms are responsible for the majority of patent applications. Approximately 0.2% of firms in Ireland account for 77% of applications between 1999- 2013

Research published in 2015 showed that more than 300 shareholders and executives at Irish tech firms had become millionaires over the previous 15 years through selling their businesses mainly to overseas firms. However, there had been no significant scaleups (“Competitive advantage doesn’t go to the nations that focus on creating companies, it goes to nations that focus on scaling companies”) despite the commercialisation of research being the flagship enterprise policy.

In effect, taxpayer funds support tech startups in particular, but when venture capital funds get interest from overseas for a startup with interesting technology, the promoters are either pressured to cash-out or they are lured by attractive offers. Google, for example, has made over 200 acquisitions since 2001.

Patent applications European Patents Office, million inhabitants

Patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO) 2016

Times Higher Education reported in 2013 that Ireland ranked at the bottom of 30 countries behind Portugal for the value of business funding of academic research.

The 2016 JRC report noted:

The weakness of the Irish R&I (research and investment) system in terms of low degree of collaboration between business-academia has been recurrently highlighted in recent years. The Enterprise 2025 background report points out that despite some progress being made, there is still evidence of the considerable challenge faced in stimulating increased interaction and collaboration between SMEs and the range of research infrastructures available throughout the country. [ ] Looking at the input side, the level of business enterprise funding of public R&D as a percentage of GDP was 0.007% in 2013 (Eurostat data), one of the lowest in the EU-28 and much lower than the EU average of 0.05% (2012). This value is even more striking if compared with innovation leaders like Germany (0.114%) or Finland (0.065%) or other strong innovators like the Netherlands (0.088%) or Belgium (0.072%). Another figure provided by OECD shows that the percentage of HERD (higher education R&D) funded by indigenous industry has dropped from in 5.3% in 2000 to a very low 1.6% in 2013.

6) low workforce skills:  

Over half of Ireland's 25-34 population are third level graduates compared with about 30% in Germany but the combination of a dual education/workplace system combined with a strong focus on innovation has maintained the latter as one of the world's leading industrial powers.

Ireland has high spending on training and further education but the outcomes, where they can be evaluated, are not good. 

Ireland's Cinderella public training sector cost €1.7 billion in 2016

7) low foreign language competence:

Ireland's native language is destined to become as quaint as Aramaic, and since at least the 1980s, lip service has been paid to the need to improve foreign language competence.

“Ireland’s indigenous sector has psychologically switched off to certain markets and they don’t go further for cultural and linguistic reasons,” said Tony Donohue of Ibec, the business lobby group, at a conference in Dublin in March 2016. “Ireland’s globalised business model is not sustainable . . . unless we get an indigenous exporting base.”

In 2010 an EU Eurobarometer report on a survey of companies in the EU-27 countries employing more than 50 employees, found that only 9% of Irish companies surveyed considered that foreign language skills would be essential for future graduates over the coming 5-10 years — compared to a 31% EU average — the Irish response was second lowest out of EU-27 member states and only the UK was lower.

In 2015 another Eurobarometer survey on the 'Internationalisation of SMEs' found :

Within the EU, companies in Latvia (70%), Austria (66%) and Lithuania (64%) are the most likely to have had experience with exporting, and they are amongst nine Member States where at least half of all companies have had experience. At the other end of the scale only 11% of companies in Bulgaria, 16% in Italy and 17% in Ireland and France have had some experience with exporting...Within the EU, SMEs in France (73%), Ireland (68%), and the UK (60%) are the most likely to say a lack of language skills to deal with foreign countries would be a problem. In contrast, just 5% of SMEs in Denmark, 9% in Malta and 12% in Croatia say this would be a problem if they were to export.

Action plans?

Denmark with a population 1m bigger than Ireland's has an economy that is a good comparator.

In 1950 agriculture accounted for 70% of Danish exports compared with 90% for Ireland, and today food and drink account for almost a fifth of the country's goods exports.

Danish firms ended Irish dominance of the British bacon market in the early years of the 20th century and Henry Denny & Sons, now owned by the Kerry Group, which had begun operations in Waterford in 1820, in 1894 invested in a pork-processing venture in Jutland with a German firm.

Denmark has evolved to a high-wage knowledge economy and, Germany and Denmark are the export superstars of Europe. Both only depend on foreign-controlled firms for 33% of their manufacturing exports while Ireland's rate in 2015 was 85% — domestic Danish firms account for about 80% of services exports led by A.P. Moller–Maersk Group, the largest container ship, and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996.

Foreign firms in Denmark account for 20% of business expenditure on research and development (BERD) and in Ireland, while the majority of FDI exporting firms spend zero on BERD, other FDI firms account for two-thirds of BERD and the research is generally at a low-level. According to the CSO "The largest 100 enterprises in terms of R&D spend accounted for over €1.4bn, or 70%, of the total R&D expenditure in 2013. Of these top 100 enterprises, 80% of the spend can be attributed to foreign owned enterprises."

Last October the Irish Exporters Association published the first issue of a new annual report 'TOP 150 BORN IN IRELAND 2016 — An analysis of the leading indigenous Irish exporters by turnover,' which ranks an eclectic mix of exporters, importers, national distributors such as car dealers, building suppliers, state companies including Dublin Airport and Dublin Port, banks, retailers, wholesalers, utilities such as vehicle service stations, hotels, newspaper firms, hospitals etc.

It is striking how few significant indigenous exporters are in the group: among the 150 there are 19 Consumer Goods firms; 7 in Manufacturing, and 3 in Information Technology at ranks 108, 122, and 125, including one that is American with an Irish headquarters.

Among the big turnover firms Pernod Ricard of France's Irish Distillers is a big exporter shipping €450 to €500m worth of Irish whiskey annually — it of course, isn't an indigenous company.

Smurfit Kappa, the Irish-Dutch packaging group, has Irish revenues of €114m — 1.4% of group revenues and it's not clear if it exports while Greencore, the former state-owned Irish Sugar Company, has about 40 employees in Dublin from a total payroll of about 13,000.

Kerry Group has opened a significant R&D centre in Ireland and it's unclear what value of goods it exports — it has 132 manufacturing plants worldwide; 5 in the Republic and 24 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, 61% of Glanbia's revenues come from the US, 22% in Ireland and less than 3% from the UK.

Denmark's export champions maintain significant levels of home employment: e.g. Arla Foods 4,000 of an 11,000 payroll; Lego 4,000 of 9,000 payroll; Novo Nordisk 15,000 of 20,000 payroll.

Typically a small number of big firms in Europe with staff numbers of 250 or more, account for a large percentage of a country's export value but in Denmark, small and medium size firms (SMEs with up to 249 employees), including foreign-owned firms account for half the value of direct Danish merchandise exports and a majority of export value when account is taken of supplies to large exporters.

The Danish high-wage knowledge economy is a world leader in food innovation (according to University College Dublin research), commercial shipping, renewable energy, brewing, and Novo Nordisk, the Danish drugs firm in 2016 was ranked the 8th in a world ranking of pharmaceutical firm brands.

Denmark is also a European leader in biotech patent applications per million inhabitants and it has more than double the Irish rate of total filings of applications for the common global standard patent despite the presence of units of leading global pharmaceutical and high tech firms in Ireland.

In addition, Denmark is among the top countries for well-being indicator ranks such as work-life balance and overall happiness. Voter turnout based on the percentage of registered voters who voted without legal compulsion, and the percentage of the adult population that voted, also suggest a high level of civic engagement irrespective of income levels.

In the 2015 parliamentary election in Denmark the respective rates were 86% and 80%; in Ireland in 2016 the ratios according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) were 65% and 58% — in 2011 in Ireland following the economic bust, the ratios were 70% and 64%.

In 1977 in Ireland the ratios were 76% and 85% while Denmark in 1953 last had a percentage of the adult population voting below 80% in a national election.

The OECD's Better Life Index data for 2015 show that the gap in voter turnout between the top 20% of earners in Denmark and the bottom 20% was 4% compared with an average of 13% for OECD countries — suggesting a high degree of social inclusion in the Nordic country.

In summary, for sustainable innovation and high income, Ireland needs to both reduce its reliance on foreign firms and at last address the persistent underperformance of the indigenous international exporting sectors. 

*1) CSO Balance of Payments data Dec 2016 Table 2a has goods exports valued at €186.2bn and services of €132.6bn, giving a total of €319bn;

2) Customs tracked goods exports were valued at €117.5bn in 2016. The difference between €186.2bn in 1) and €117.5bn is €69bn which is the value of overseas contract manufacturing. Discarding the €69bn we get an adjusted total of €250bn;

3) We determine a value of €79bn for Euro Area exports in 2016 by adding a value of €40.5bn from Table 4 on merchandise exports here, to services of €38.7bn which is an estimate based on a 9% rise on 2015 data from Table 2a here.

4) €79bn as a ratio of €250bn is 32%. The US and UK ratios are determined from the same data.

**On the 18:82 indigenous/FDI export shares, Irish-owned tradeable exports plus inward tourism and transport services resulted in a total value of €30bn in 2016.

We have outlined above how the headline exports total of €319bn has been reduced to €250bn reflecting the elimination of overseas so-called contract manufacturing of €69bn where the output of mainly foreign pharmaceutical plants is booked in Ireland. An additional  €85bn is adjusted in respect of both computer services exports where sales are booked in Ireland, not in the countries where the sales took place and an excess surplus on goods trade due to profit shifting.

To more realistically present an estimate of the total ratio of indigenous exports, deducting the €85bn gives us a second adjusted headline total of €165bn — this adjusted total is consistent with a 2015 estimate of exports by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs, and Innovation for enterprise agency assisted clients.

€30bn as a ratio of €165bn gives us the 18:82 share. 

The image on top: Mario Draghi, ECB president, in a graphic produced by Pixabay.