Irish exports reach a record €34.5bn

Largest export gains achieved in the UK market, up 6% to €9.97bn, according to Enterprise Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland has reported that business exports reached a record €34.57bn in 2023, a new record for Irish exporters. Overall non-food exports increased by 8%.

The Agency reported that by the end of 2023, it had surpassed its 2024 target of a 10% increase in the number of companies achieving sales greater than €10m, €20m and €50m. At the end of 2023, a year ahead of target, over 20% growth in each category had been achieved.

“Today’s results reflect the ambition and tenaciousness of Irish entrepreneurs”

Technology and Services exports were up 10% to €8.49bn. Industrial and Lifesciences exports were up by 7% to €10.384bn, while Food and Sustainability exports were down by 4% to €15.691bn, largely impacted by international dairy sales and prices.

The world at our feet

The UK, the largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies, accounting for 29% of total exports, grew by 6% to €9.97bn. Food exports grew by 7% to €4.76bn. Industrial & Lifesciences exports grew 3% to €3.25bn, while Technology and Services were up 8% to €1.96bn in 2023.

Exports to the Eurozone, the second largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies, accounting for 25% of total exports, grew by 2% to €8.61bn in 2023. Food and Sustainability exports of €4.28bn were down 6%, while Industrial and Lifesciences exports of €2.86bn increased by 9%, and Technology and Services exports were up 19% to €1.47bn.  

The largest export markets in the Eurozone are Germany, France and the Netherlands. Exports to Germany increased by 14% to €2.33bn while exports to France were up 5% to €1.82bn. Exports to the Netherlands were down 13% to €1.75bn.

The third largest export market, accounting for 19% of total exports is North America. In 2023, exports to the region were up by 5% to €6.48bn. Of which €5.9bn exports were to the USA. Overall, non-food exports to North America, were up 8%. Technology and Services grew by 8% to €2.95bn, and Industrial & Lifesciences exports were up 7% to €2.22bn.

“Today’s results reflect the ambition and tenaciousness of Irish entrepreneurs, who with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s team are scaling internationally at an accelerated pace, with strong gains in key sectors, markets and sales growth by clients,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“Irish exporters have remained committed to investing in the UK, our largest trading partner, and the 6% growth in exports justifies that commitment. While the Eurozone grew by a more modest 2% this can be largely attributed to Food exports to the region being down by 6%. Technology, Industrial and Lifesciences exporters continue to thrive in North America, particularly the USA, with exports in these combined sectors up 8% to €5.17bn.

“Overall, Industrial, Lifesciences and Construction exports have surpassed €10bn exports and reflective of the caliber of Irish software being produced, we would expect Technology and International Services exports will also reach that €10bn milestone.

“Our mission is to accelerate Ireland’s economy with robust job growth and export gains worldwide. As we focus on business growth and expansion, sustainability, productivity and digitalisation will be high on our agenda.”

Enterprise Ireland client companies spent €39.3bn in the Irish economy in 2023, including €11.7bn on payroll.

“Across a variety of sectors and international markets, Irish exporters have made significant gains and continue to grow their influence internationally, despite a more challenging international business environment and rising costs,” said Enterprise Minister Peter Burke, TD.

“Irish exporters are a critical component of the Irish economy, and the government is committed to supporting this sector to scale to further heights in the years ahead.”

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John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.