Enterprise Ireland last week urged Irish companies to seize the opportunities of exporting to the huge North of England market
Irish businesses should seize many untapped opportunities presented by Brexit, especially in the North of England, says a new report on the UK’s so-called Northern Powerhouse by export Enterprise Ireland (EI) published last week.
The report said that growth in the North of England is faster than anywhere else in the UK making the region potentially highly attractive to Irish exporters.
Ireland’s Business Minister Heather Humphries, launching Northern Powerhouse: Business Opportunities for Irish Companies, reminded everyone that “the UK is Ireland’s most significant export market.”
Opportunities for Irish businesses include the planned construction of 500,000 new homes, and the development of new life-sciences and healthcare facilities, digital technology and cleantech in the north of England, says the report.
It also mentions the market for engineering products and the High Speed 2 railway. At least 105,000 people are directly employed in the UK by Irish companies.
The Northern Powerhouse is a UK Government economic initiative to rebalance the UK’s national economy, by maximizing the combined potential of the north of England’s cities and city regions, including Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Tees Valley. If the region were a European country, it would be the 10th largest economy in Europe.
Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “The UK is Ireland’s number one export market, with Enterprise Ireland clients exporting €7.5 billion of exports, representing 35 per cent of total client exports in 2016.
“As long-standing trading partners, the UK is, and will remain, the largest export market for indigenous Irish companies. As Brexit negotiations continue, the Irish Government and our export agency Enterprise Ireland are committed to consolidating and growing Irish exports to the UK now and into the future.
“Enterprise Ireland’s Northern Powerhouse Report underscores the extent of the business and partnership opportunities for Irish companies, with the north of England, an area that is growing at a significant rate and outpacing all other parts of the UK.”
The UK’s Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Jake Berry MP, said at the launch: “The Northern Powerhouse is about driving business, skills and economic growth in the north of England, positioning the region as a globally recognised economy. Irish companies have been very successfully doing business in the north of England and I welcome further collaboration that will drive the economy of the region while delivering important export opportunities to Irish companies.”
Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “Enterprise Ireland is actively supporting Irish companies to respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by Brexit. “While we are focused on encouraging businesses to have a more diversified market strategy, the UK is Ireland’s most significant export market and in parallel, we are focused on supporting Irish companies to consolidate and grow their exports to the UK and diversify in the UK market, seeking opportunities beyond the traditional regions and sectors.
“The opportunities set out in the Northern Powerhouse report play to the strengths of a large cohort of Irish companies, particularly in the construction, life sciences, and digital sectors along with collaboration on scientific research and innovation projects.
“We have increased our resources in the UK to help exporting Irish companies to navigate and seize the potential, and we will play a central role to support Irish companies to achieve their export potential and a more diversified approach to the UK.”