Foreign-owned firms were responsible for 91% of Ireland's tradeable goods and services exports in 2009. Food and drink exports, which come mainly from the indigenous sector, fell 15% according to the survey carried out by Forfás. The survey covers the client base of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Shannon Development and Údarás na Gaeltachta Export earnings for Irish-owned firms was €11.5bn and the earnings for the foreign sector was €114.4bn. Indigenous exports accounted for 8.7% of the total.
The indigenous food and drink sector saw sales decline by 10.7% in 2009 and exports by 15%. The euro exchange rate with sterling was a contributing factor to this result. Exports in traditional manufacturing also saw a decrease of 15.5% in 2009 over 2008. In contrast, the relatively small sector of modern manufacturing & energy reported a small growth in exports in 2009 of 2% on the previous year.
Export growth among Irish-owned internationally traded services was over 7% during 2009. Exports of information, communication & computer services among Irish-owned firms were strong, with growth of almost 12% between 2008 and 2009 compared with 2.8% for the period 2000-2009. While the business, financial and other services sectors also saw growth in 2009 with 5.6% over 2008 and giving an increase of almost 14% for the period from 2000-2009.
Export growth of 2.6% per annum over the period 2000-2009 for all sectors compares with the 2.3% per annum growth in total sales among indigenous companies.
“The Irish have what it takes. They have a good tax system, a great workforce, a good geographic location, good partners and investors. I think they are going to come out of this just fine\"
Not one to read a paper most days I reluctantly picked up the the Irish Times while waiting for my next meeting. You'll be glad to hear I skimmed the wall to wall Cowen coverage and stumbled upon coverage by the Irish Times of the recent visit to Ireland by Thomas Donohue, president and chief executive of the US Chamber of Commerce. Amidst the relentless beating of our breasts and scorning of anybody remotely to do with politics I found the article a beacon of hope and sanity. You should check it out: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2011/0124/1224288162493.html
The nugget I took from it was: “American business people and financiers are worried about a cascading problem from Greece to Portugal to Spain and wherever. They were not worried about Ireland because it had the fundamentals of a strong economy. It had an improved infrastructure, a trained and educated workforce, a good location and good management." There you are now. Someone is optimistic.