A hard Brexit could mean a 30% drop in Irish exports to the UK

A new study form the ESRI highlights the risks that Irish trade faces in the coming years

A hard Brexit could mean a 30% drop in Irish exports to the UK

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Ireland’s exports to the UK could drop by more than 30% and total sales of Irish goods and services abroad could fall by more than 4%, causing major economic disruption here if the UK leaves the EU without a special trade deal, according to a new report from the ESRI.

The research is based on a scenario where in the absence of a special UK/EU trade agreement, World Trade Organisation tariffs would apply, triggering tariffs of up to 50% in some sectors such as food and clothing.

This is one of the most detailed studies of the effect that the vote will have on trade, the ESRI used information on the value and unit or weight of over 5,200 product lines. 

Tariffs between EU and non-EU countries fluctuate significantly, with the highest 50% rate applying to sectors such as food and clothing.

The report estimates that there will be a drop of almost 30% in UK imports to Ireland - and that the prices of goods from the EU will increase sharply.

It highlights Ireland's particular dependence on trade with the UK: "For most countries, the shares of exports and imports are very similar; Ireland is an exception in this regard as it buys a much larger share of the UK’s exports to the EU than it accounts for in the UK’s imports from the EU.

"This represents the integrated wholesale market between Ireland and the UK and the relative size disparity between the two countries," in continues.

Leading politicians across the EU have made it clear that they do not intend to give trade between Ireland and the UK any special treatment when Britain finally leaves.