DUBLIN (Reuters) - The value of Irish goods exports rose by 15 percent to a record 140 billion euros (£123 billion) last year as a fall in the goods sold into Britain was substantially offset by increases to almost all of Ireland’s other major trade partners.
Ireland’s export-led economy has been the best performing in the European Union since 2014 and the government forecasts that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.5 percent last year as Brexit had little immediate impact on activity.
The value of goods sold to Britain, which is due to leave the European Union on March 29, fell by 3 percent to 14 billion euros, the second annual fall in three years.
The share of goods exported to Ireland’s nearest neighbour has fallen to 11 percent from 17 percent a decade ago.
Firms have cut their reliance on Britain by ramping up trade elsewhere and total exports to the EU rose by 13 percent to 70 billion with goods trade increasing by 17 percent. Exports to the United States, the largest destination for goods, were up 17.5 percent to 39 billion euros.
Goods exported to Northern Ireland, whose land border with the Irish republic is central to the impasse in the Brexit talks, rose 4 percent to 2.01 billion euros.
Imports from Britain increased 5 percent during the period to 18.3 billion euros.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Editing by Toby Chopra