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Thu 17 Oct 2019 12:48 PM

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Irish exports to Middle East set to double to $13.2bn by 2031

70% of Irish merchandise exports to the region come from soft drink concentrates, baby formula, pharmaceuticals and computers

Irish exports to Middle East set to double to $13.2bn by 2031
Emirates airline at Dublin airport ... Trade with the Arab region is boosted by air links from the Irish capital.

The value of Irish exports to the region is expected to more than double within the next 15 years to approximately 12 billion euros (AED 48.82 billion) by 2031, according to a new report from the Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce (AICC).

According to the report, current Irish merchandise exports to the Middle East are currently valued at 5.18 billion euros, of which 1.91 billion euros come from merchandise and 3.27 billion euros come from services.

Of the 13 countries that fall within the AICC’s remit, Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of Irish goods. According to the statistics, nearly 1 percent of Saudi Arabia’s merchandise imports are Irish, worth approximately 553 million euros. The kingdom is also the fifth largest dairy importer in the world.

The UAE, for its part, imported 361 million euros of Irish goods in 2018, with the Irish food board – Bord Bia – actively working to promote Irish food products in the country.

Additionally, the report showed that 70 percent of Irish merchandise exports to the region stem from four areas: soft drink concentrates, baby formula, pharmaceuticals and computers.

Dairy – 8.2 percent of the total of Irish goods exported to the region – is valued at 140 million euros, 37 percent more than when AICC published its first report in 2013.

Medical and pharmaceutical exports have also grown by 73 percent, and total 334 million euros.

Strong links

“The value of goods and services to Ireland’s economy makes the Arab region one of the most important trading blocs, outside of the EU and North America, and hundreds of Irish businesses have been successfully trading with or in the region for many years,” Ahmad Younis, the chief executive of the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying by Ireland’s RTE.

Younis also said that increasingly strong links between Ireland the region have created more opportunities for Irish firms to enter the markets.

“Irish businesses with a high-quality product or service that are willing to put in the time to explore and nurture new opportunities are on a pathway to success in the Arab world,” he said. “We are a small nation, but we have a very positive image in the region and Arabs like doing business with their Irish counterparts.”