trade

US was country’s biggest export market in 2018

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that Ireland exported a total €141 billion of goods in 2018 and imported €92 billion worth of goods. 

The country exported over €39 billion of goods to the US in 2018 – its largest export market. It also imported €17 billion from the US last year. 

The second biggest export partner was Belgium, with €18 billion of exports. 

The CSO said that medical and pharmaceutical products and organic chemicals comprised €25.8 billion, or 66% of the total exports to the US in 2018. 

The UK, Germany and the Netherlands complete the list of the remaining top five export markets.

Today’s figures also show that imports from the UK were €20 billion in 2018 to make the UK our largest import partner. 

They also reveal that food exports to the UK in 2018 were €4.8 billion and accounted for 43% of total food exports.

Nearly half of our food imports came from the UK, at a value of €3.7 billion.  

Ireland exported almost €800m of cheese, milk and butter to the UK in 2018, one-third of our total exports of these products. 

More than three-quarters of our imports of these products came from the UK, valued at €480m.

The figures also show that we exported over €1 billion of bovine meat to the UK in 2018 and imported €100m. 

This accounted for 52% of our total exports and 90% of our total imports of bovine meat. 

Ireland also exported over €400m of cereals to the UK in 2018, representing over 90% of total exports of this product. 

The CSO noted that almost 80% of all our exports of fruit and vegetables went to the UK, but only 8% of our seafood were exported to the UK in 2018.

Comparing trade figures from 1973 to 2018, the CSO said that food and live animals comprised 41% of Ireland’s total exports in 1973, and were valued at €1.1 billion. 

Exports of chemical products accounted for just 7% of exports in 1973. 

But in 2018, exports of food and live animals were just 8% of total exports, or €11 billion, while chemical products comprise 61% of total exports, or €85.7 billion.

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European stocks tumble on trade war blows

European stocks tumble on trade war blows

Technology stocks led a tumble in European equities in early deals on Monday as investors fled from riskier assets after another exchange of blows by the United States and China over trade at the end of last week.

US President Donald Trump on Friday hit back at a new round of Chinese tariffs by heaping an additional 5pc duty on some $550bn in targeted Chinese goods and demanded that US companies move their operations out of China.

However, Trump appeared on Sunday to back off on his threat to order US companies out of China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.51pc by 07:10 GMT, with trading volumes thinned out by a UK holiday.

Declines in markets were broad-based, but technology companies, the most exposed to tariffs, were the biggest losers with a 1.02pc fall in the sectoral index.

German real estate stocks came under pressure after a report that Berlin’s city government planned to cap rents. Deutsche Wohnen slid 3.8pc, while Vonovia fell 1pc.

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EU goods trade gaps with US and China widen

EU goods trade gaps with US and China widen

The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the US and its deficit with China both increased in the first five months of 2019, figures that could add extra strain to global tensions.

The European Union’s surplus with the US grew to €62.1 billion in the months from January to May from €55.4 billion the same time last year, EU statistics office Eurostat said today.

With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to €76.7 billion from €69.2 billion.

The US has hit the European Union with tariffs and threatened more in complaint over the trade balance. Both Washington and Brussels have also complained that China wants free trade without playing fair.

Overall, the goods trade deficit of the 28-nation bloc widened to €14.2 billion in the five month period from €9.9 billion a year earlier.

Energy imports, notably from Russia and Norway, were the chief cause of the deficit.

For the narrower 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 7.1% year-on-year in May and imports by 4.2%, leading to a widening of its trade surplus to €23 billion in May from €16.9 billion a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also increased to €20.2 billion in May from €15.7 billion in April as exports rose by 1.4% month-on-month and imports declined by 1%.

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EU goods surplus with US eases, deficit with China widens

EU goods surplus with US eases, deficit with China widens

The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the US decreased in the first three months of 2019, but its deficit with China widened, figures released today showed.

The 28-nation bloc’s surplus with the US slipped to €33.9 billion in the three months from January to March, from €36.2 billion the same time in 2018, EU statistics office Eurostat reported.

With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to €49.4 billion from €46.9 billion.

In the months from January to February, the EU trade surplus with the US had risen, while its deficit with China expanded.

The US has hit the European Union with tariffs and threatened more while complaining over the trade balance. Both Washington and Brussels have also complained that China wants free trade without playing fair.

Overall, the goods trade deficit of the 28-nation bloc increased to €24 billion in the first quarter from €9.6 billion a year earlier.

Energy imports were the chief cause of the deficit, especially from Russia and Norway.

However, the sharpest movements were related to trade from Turkey and South Korea, the EU’s trade balance with both turning from a surplus to a deficit.

For the 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 3.1% year-on-year in March and imports by 6%, leading to a decline of its trade surplus to €22.5 billion from €26.9 billion a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also decreased to €17.9 billion in March from €20.6 billion in February as exports increased by 0.9% month-on-month and imports rose by 2.5%.

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Trade war escalation puts Europe’s shaky economy back on alert

Trade war escalation puts Europe’s shaky economy back on alert

The US and China are taking another swing at global sentiment, which is bad news for Europe as the economy starts to find its feet after a torrid year. In a week that was supposed to bring progress in trade talks, President Donald Trump boosted tariffs on $200bn of goods and threatened more. China said it will be forced to retaliate, though it hasn’t yet given details.

The escalation will have a global impact, but for the euro area it brings to life one of the “pronounced” risks highlighted this week by the European Commission in its latest (gloomy) economic assessment. The region is also facing its own US deadline: Trump is due to decide by May 18 whether to slap levies on car imports, though the date could be extended. “We’re at a very fragile position in the global economy; we’re seeing an industrial recession in most parts of the world,” said Zurich strategist Guy Miller.

“The uncertainty this creates means the global trade situation, which is already fragile, is going to be very vulnerable.”

The US-China setback follows figures suggesting the euro-area economy was starting to stabilise. First-quarter growth was better than anticipated and surveys of activity bottomed out after tumbling through 2018. In Germany, industrial production and orders grew in March.

But confidence remains fragile, with a commission measure for the eurozone at the weakest in more than two years. “A quarter of our members have exports to the US that were already affected by these ridiculous tariffs,” said EU Chamber of Commerce in China president Mats Harborn. Increasing tariffs to 25pc “will prove extremely damaging to those companies, and the collateral damage will ripple around the globe”.

The latest tit-for-tat is likely to worry EU leaders. They agreed on a trade pact with Trump last year and are working to prevent more tariffs on EU products.

Moreover, Europe’s worries could be moot: The US-China talks may ultimately succeed. A deal would help support the view of a better second half for the euro-area economy. Failure, though, “would mean persistent (trade) uncertainty and flat-lining growth rather than a return above potential next year,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said in a note.

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‘American selfishness on trade’ criticised by EU

‘American selfishness on trade’ criticised by EU

EUROPEAN Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said on Tuesday that Washington’s “selfish” approach to trade was not sustainable, but it was too early to say that EU-US trade talks were doomed to fail.

The Trump administration has imposed stiff tariffs on US imports of steel and aluminium and set off a trade war with China in a bid to redress what it sees as unfavourable terms that contribute to a US trade deficit of over half a trillion dollars a year.

The Commission, which negotiates trade agreements on behalf of the 28-nation European Union, has been in talks with US authorities since last July, seeking to clinch a deal on industrial goods trade.

EU governments are now discussing the details of a negotiating mandate for the Commission, while Washington has until mid-May to decide whether to make good on President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on imports of European cars.

“It is too early to say that our trade discussions are doomed to fail,” Mr Katainen told a regular news briefing.

“There are discussions going on on several levels and… we can end up having some sort of an agreement with the US on trade, but let’s not go deeper than this,” he said.

He added that the scope of negotiations had to be clear and that a deal would require a lot of good will and political capital on both sides.

Asked about a reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr Katainen said it was problematic.

“Japan, China and the EU are willing to reform the WTO, the US has not been that interested, but they are willing to cooperate,” he said.

“Even though the US authorities may think that selfishness is better than cooperation, it is not a sustainable way of thinking,” he said.

Reuters

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