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News : Irish Last Updated: Jan 25, 2010 - 2:54:11 AM

Foreign-owned firms responsible for 89% of Irish tradable goods and services exports in 2008; Jobs in sector down 44,000 since 2000
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Jan 22, 2010 - 6:10:16 AM

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This week, Irish State enterprise policy advisory agency, Forfás, published a report which shows that foreign owned firms accounted for 89% of  Irish tradable goods and services exports in 2008. Jobs in the sector are down 44,000 since 2000.

The report, Annual Business Survey of  Economic Impact 2008, provides the result of a survey of the the client base of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Shannon Development and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The population comprises all manufacturing and internationally traded services firms in Ireland with 10 or more employees - - approximately 4,000 client companies.

Total exports in 2008 were valued at €152bn comprising €82bn in goods shipments and €69bn in services exports.

The total value of exports covered in the Forfás report is €124bn.

Would it have been too much to expect a reconciliation of these two figures?

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment currently is showing 2008 exports at 156bn.

The CSO lopped off €4 billion from merchandise exports in a balance of payments adjustment in 2009.

Last year, I spent some time chasing up Forfás, the Central Statistics Office and IDA Ireland on 2007 data, with limited success.

As to the difference of €28bn in 2008, €10.5bn of business services are not trade related and half of that covers operating leases income; over €7bn relates to tourism and transport (e,g Ryaniar); €1bn for royalties and the rest covers foreign earnings of Irish financial institutions; some firms at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), not supported by IDA Ireland and re-exporting.                 

There were 309,000 in total employed by both the Irish and foreign-owned sectors in 2000 - - 165,000 in the Irish-owned sector and 144,000 in foreign firms.

In 2008, there were in total 265,000 employed in the two sectors; 126,000 in indigenous firms and 139,000 in foreign firms.

The Forfás report has a multiplicity of data on per employee metrics but does not provide explicit employment data. Wonder why?

Our calculation of 2008 employment is below data published in 2009.

In the 2008 Forfás annual report, published in mid 2009, total full-time employment among Irish-owned companies was stated as 144,734 in 2008 while, among foreign-owned companies, total full-time employment amounted to 152,364 in 2008.

In the period 2000-2008, foreign firms exports were 95% of their sales compared with 40% for the indigenous sector.

Value added, defined as total sales minus all purchases of raw materials and services, was 8% of GNP for Irish-owned firms and 32% for foreign ones. So per euro, value added is higher for local firms.

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