Irish Economy
Bruton claims Irish entrepreneurs responsible for record Irish trade surplus of €4bn
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Aug 23, 2011 - 1:59 PM

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Source: CSO

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton today claimed Irish entrepreneurs are responsible for the record Irish trade surplus in June of €4bn. The facts are that mainly US-owned firms and depressed imports related to the weak domestic economy, account for it.

The seasonally adjusted Irish trade surplus increased by 8% to €4bn in June which is the highest surplus ever. The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus in June was €4.47bn comprising exports of €8.34bn and imports of €3.87bn. This is the highest trade surplus since June 2001.

Minister Bruton today welcomed the latest external merchandise trade statistics, which were released today (23 August) by the CSO. The preliminary €4bn seasonally adjusted trade surplus in June is the highest ever surplus.

The Minister added:  “I am delighted that the recent good news on the export front is continuing. It is indeed heartening to know that despite the turbulent international markets into which we are exporting, our exports are continuing to perform to an extremely high level. I have said repeatedly that my priorities are to; get our costs down, get credit to good businesses and to support the innovation and R&D agenda. These trade figures show what our entrepreneurs can achieve when the conditions are right and only encourage me further to pursue this agenda so that we can continue to support export-led growth and recovery”.  

The figures for the first five months  of 2011 compared with those for 2010 show:

Exports increased by 6% to €38,565m:

  • Exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by 14% or €1,362m, Organic chemicals by 7% or €582m and Dairy products by 47% or €217m.

  • Exports to Spain fell by 16% or €239m.

  • In the first five months of 2011, 52% of Ireland’s exports went to the US, Belgium and Great Britain.

Imports increased by 12% to €21,123m:

  • Imports of Other transport equipment (including aircraft) increased by 34% or €497m, Medical and pharmaceutical products by 22% or €318m and Petroleum by 17% or €305m. <

  • Goods from Great Britain rose by 18% or €952m, from China by 17% or €156m and from Germany by 16% or €221m. 46% of Ireland’s imports came from Great Britain and the US in the first five months of 2011.

Bruton said exports to the United States increased by 11.8% to €9.08bn. He said the importance of the US market will be underpinned when he leads a trade mission there in mid September.

Exports to the EU rose by 4.2% to €22.336bn in the first five months of 2011. Within the EU there has been some very important export achievements to countries such as the Czech Republic where in the first five months of 2011 exports grew by 95% to €235m and to Sweden by 25% to €345m.  

In addition, some high potential markets on which there has been a particular focus recently have shown very substantial growth over the same period, with exports to Brazil increasing by over 9% to €112m and exports to India, (where the Minister led a trade mission earlier this year) growing by 30% to €83m. Exports to South Korea increased by 5.3% to €141m.


This is a fairytale and 90% of Irish tradeable exports are made by foreign firms not by Irish entrepreneurs; in fact many local units of American firms generally do not have any control on the overseas destination of their output. In true ministerial tradition, Bruton even claims credit for a rise in exports to India. Tade with that market is merely a decimal point.

The Minister said: “Exports to dynamic emerging economies and those of Asia show the benefits of helping exporters concentrate more on these markets. For example I expect growth in exports to South Korea will receive a major boost from the Free Trade Agreement with Korea that started on 1 July.”  

The Minister went on to say, “These are very welcome trends and show that Irish business is rising to the challenge of seeking out new markets and winning new business. These figures emphasise both the importance of trade to the economy and its potential to be a significant contributor to recovery.”

The Minister also welcomed the fact that imports over the first five months had risen across a broad range of categories. Commenting on this aspect of the trade data Bruton said :  “These show that businesses are increasing their purchases of raw materials and inputs, which dovetails with the signs of business recovery from the lower levels of economic activity over recent times”.    

Commenting on the data for important exporting sectors the Minister said :
“The Government is devoting considerable effort to the food sector, which is so important for Irish owned firms. It is indeed heartening to see that food exports grew by over 19% to €3.151bn, while key high technology exports in areas such as medical and pharmaceutical products grew at a very fast pace. We are strengthening our already leading position in that area’  

He also welcomed data released by Eurostat, the EU statistics body last week, which showed that Ireland had the third largest trade surplus of the 27 Member States for the five months January  - - May 2011 (after Germany and the Netherlands).  Bruton said it was notable that many of the larger countries had very significant deficits. In addition, the Eurostat data showed that Ireland’s contribution to the EU’s total exports to other countries increased by 20% in June last, over the previous month.

This bragging is ridiculous when Ireland is overwhelmingly dependent on foreign-owned firms.

IBEC, the business, said new CSO trade figures show that Ireland's export-led economic recovery remains on track. The value of Irish exports of goods during the first half of 2011 recorded a 6.1% increase to €46.9bn, compared with imports of €25bn. The CSO figures also indicate that the volume of exports rose by nearly 8% during the first five months, compared to a less than 1% increase in the volume of imports.

Commenting on the figures, IBEC head of trade Pat Ivory said: "The figures demonstrate the crucial contribution trade is making to the economy. Ireland is continuing to experience an export-led recovery, with strong exports of traditional goods, such as dairy and meat products, as well as high-tech goods, such as medical devices and chemicals. The highly open nature of the Irish economy means that exports are making a substantially higher contribution to GDP and economic recovery than in most other countries."


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