Why is North/South trade so small, despite EU/SM/CU and 20 years after the peace process?

Congalltee

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Nov 10, 2009
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6,124
Exports
12.3% to GB, 1.6% to NI

Imports
24% from GB, 1.6% from NI

It’s a fairly small proportion in the overall context.
I would be fairly confident that Munster sells a large multiple to Leinster than what Ulster does.

What are the barriers?
- currency fluctuations
- tax
- 2 hour train between dublin and Belfast
- crap roads north of the border
- sectarianism
- a southern partitionist bigotry that they’re trouble “up there”

What can be done to improve trade? (Which is in everyone’s interest).


The only time I hear of tourists going north is to visit Titanic or hillwalking. Apart from rugby and the 12th exodus, there aren’t that many travelling south.

From finfacts
According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), the 2015 external sales of goods (including to Great Britain) by NI companies were estimated to be worth £18.3bn, 79.6% of all external sales. The value of services was £4.7bn.
Official data from HM Revenue & Customs show that in 2016 the Republic with a 31% share was the BIGGEST export market for NI's £7.8bn of manufacturing exports - see chart below.
There was a small trade deficit of £300,000 with the Republic and an overall goods deficit of £2.1bn in 2016. See data report here.
The EU accounted for 55% of export value.
 
Last edited:


Supra

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Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
2,167
Exports
12.3% to GB, 1.6% to NI

Imports
24% from GB, 1.6% from NI

It’s a fairly small proportion in the overall context.
I would be fairly confident that Munster sells a large multiple to Leinster than what Ulster does.

What are the barriers?
- currency fluctuations
- tax
- 2 hour train between dublin and Belfast
- crap roads north of the border
- sectarianism
- a southern partitionist bigotry that they’re trouble “up there”

What can be done to improve trade? (Which is in everyone’s interest).


The only time I hear of tourists going north is to visit Titanic or hillwalking. Apart from rugby and the 12th exodus, there aren’t that many travelling south.
Protectionism and misleading marketing.
 

Plebian

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Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
9,254
Exports
12.3% to GB, 1.6% to NI

Imports
24% from GB, 1.6% from NI

It’s a fairly small proportion in the overall context.
I would be fairly confident that Munster sells a large multiple to Leinster than what Ulster does.

What are the barriers?
- currency fluctuations
- tax
- 2 hour train between dublin and Belfast
- crap roads north of the border
- sectarianism
- a southern partitionist bigotry that they’re trouble “up there”

What can be done to improve trade? (Which is in everyone’s interest).


The only time I hear of tourists going north is to visit Titanic or hillwalking. Apart from rugby and the 12th exodus, there aren’t that many travelling south.
How real are our other exports? As in how much of them are Multinationals playing accounting games rather than actual physical product and services?

NI is a satellite of Britain, it's orientated that way. It could turn such as the way Northern farms now sell so much of their produce to Southern companies.

Belfast is the big beast in NI, unlike farmers and border communities it has little pushing it towards the ROI. Just like we import from the UK, so do they. It's kind of hard to imagine why Belfast would pivot South trade wise. Think of Cork and Galway, they trade through Dublin and internationally rather than to each other.
 

Analyzer

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Feb 14, 2011
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NI is essentially a lower cost economy than the 26 counties. Less regulation. Less quangos. Less indirect taxation.

Therefore what goes North would need to be cheaper. And most of what is sells is already supplied in the rest of the island already.

It is literally a result of what is produced each side of the border that impacts trade - mostly the same products.

Concerning the tourism thing, it still has an image problem that cannot be solved by any slick marketing stunts.
 

Congalltee

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How real are our other exports? As in how much of them are Multinationals playing accounting games rather the next actual physical product and services?

NI is a satellite of Britain, it's orientated that way, it could turn such as the way Northern farms now sell so much of their produce to Southern companies.

Belfast is the big beast in NI, unlike farmers and border communities it has little pushing it towards the ROI. Just like we import from the UK, so do they. It's kind of hard to imagine why Belfast would pivot South trade wise. Think of Cork and Galway, they trade through Dublin and internationally rather than to each other.
But would it not be beneficial for Galway and Cork to increase their mutual trade?
Ditto with Dublin and Belfast’s whose hinterlands have a combined population over 2m.
 

Supra

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Aug 31, 2015
Messages
2,167
Can you elaborate? These are subtle barriers to entry, but can be the most effective.
Many companies promote 'Buy Irish'. This is in the most, protectionism and misleading marketing.

Tesco for example, advertise local produce in their meat, dairy and veg. They do not take products from companies that are not subscribed to certain brands such as 'love irish food'.
THe success of these campaigns buy groups of suppliers have made it almost impossible for northern producers to win tenders from the likes of Tesco.
Producers in the north face much more difficulty applying for tenders regardless of quality or price. Tesco in Donegal are more likely to accept local products from a producer in Wexford than one in Derry resulting in higher costs to the consumer and misleading the consumer to believe they are buying the local farmers product.
 

Congalltee

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Many companies promote 'Buy Irish'. This is in the most, protectionism and misleading marketing.

Tesco for example, advertise local produce in their meat, dairy and veg. They do not take products from companies that are not subscribed to certain brands such as 'love irish food'.
THe success of these campaigns buy groups of suppliers have made it almost impossible for northern producers to win tenders from the likes of Tesco.
Producers in the north face much more difficulty applying for tenders regardless of quality or price. Tesco in Donegal are more likely to accept local products from a producer in Wexford than one in Derry resulting in higher costs to the consumer and misleading the consumer to believe they are buying the local farmers product.
Is there an equivilant campaign in NI?
Would a composing which is buy Irish which is all-ireland have an benefits to the ROI?
What I don’t get is why a British multinational, like Tesco, would buy into this - surely price comes first?
 

Levellers

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They have never got over losing traditional heavy industries and have never pursued new industries like the 26 did.

Nothing to sell except agricultural products.
 

Plebian

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But would it not be beneficial for Galway and Cork to increase their mutual trade?
Ditto with Dublin and Belfast’s whose hinterlands have a combined population over 2m.
Yeah, it'd be beneficial. My point wasn't that it shouldn't take place, but that as part of our Multinational economy it wouldn't be a big number.

Having lived in Galway, the idea of going to Cork for anything was a nightmare journey wise. The same would apply for many parts of the North heading South and vice-versa. It's easier for Derry people to head to Belfast than to go on the torturous road to Dublin.

The proposed finishing of the Motorway from Cork to Limerick to Galway and beyond would open up trade between all those areas. The same applies to the North-South trade, but Belfast is another matter.
 

Supra

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Is there an equivilant campaign in NI?
Would a composing which is buy Irish which is all-ireland have an benefits to the ROI?
What I don’t get is why a British multinational, like Tesco, would buy into this - surely price comes first?
There are similar campaigns but the are less effective.

It would only benefit the Irish consumer not the producer or retailer. If a producer knows you will select their product for a reason other than quality or price they can manipulate both.

Tesco buy into it as it attracts customers, keep customers and comes with free advertising. It allows consumers to shop with a British Company and keep the illusion they are supporting local communities. Bord Bia have their logo too which is advertised all over the place. These groups promote their own logos and Tesco are in the same position of the supplier without the responsibility.

Take the National Dairy Council of Ireland for example. You would be forgiven to think this is State run. It's promoted by Paul O'Connell which helps with the natioanal image. This is a privately supported group promoting themselves and making it difficult for competition to enter the market.
 
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Supra

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They have never got over losing traditional heavy industries and have never pursued new industries like the 26 did.

Nothing to sell except agricultural products.
In this regard Belfast are always going to lose to Dublin and London.
 

Congalltee

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In this regard Belfast are always going to lose to Dublin and London.
It was doing well before partition (not that ending partition would be a magic solution to decline).
The regional imbalance is huge in the south. Dublin used to be counterbalanced by Belfast, but since partition to now Belfast’s population has fallen, Cork’s has doubled and Dublin’s has mushroomed so there isn’t much room in it.

Random thoughts:
The A5 motorway completion would be a great benefit to Donegal, Derry and Fermanagh.
Humes dream of Foyle becoming a Silicon Valley seems silly now.
The north’s food industry runs a close second to Munsters.
 

Civic_critic2

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Yeah, it'd be beneficial. My point wasn't that it shouldn't take place, but that as part of our Multinational economy it wouldn't be a big number.

Having lived in Galway, the idea of going to Cork for anything was a nightmare journey wise. The same would apply for many parts of the North heading South and vice-versa. It's easier for Derry people to head to Belfast than to go on the torturous road to Dublin.

The proposed finishing of the Motorway from Cork to Limerick to Galway and beyond would open up trade between all those areas. The same applies to the North-South trade, but Belfast is another matter.
They keep the country backward economically by not rolling out transport infrastructure, north and south. In the south they keep the people dependent on FDI while developing only roads quite slowly over a period of decades and little other infrastructure - 'get the McGinley's bus' is the extent of the gombeens view. In the north they keep the people dependent on British government subventions and the public sector.

In both cases they fail to develop indigenous industry and hence the talent of the population.

These are geostrategic phenomena which keep the country in a state of demilitarised, economically backward dependency.

But people don't want to believe that even though the consistency is self-evident. In just the same way people want to believe that reinvigorating the Irish language needs a new approach after previous policies 'failed' - they didn't fail, what you're looking at is the policy, the actual policy.

But people just refuse to believe this, they want to talk about new initiatives, investment, etc. Having read reports about the intitiatives proposed and partially pursued to develop Irish industry over the last 200 years under the British, it is very clear to me that all the reports and policy documents and proposals about industry and the Irish language emanating from the south over the last century are entirely in keeping with the diversionary placatory waffle in the same kinds of reports under the British which were intended to give the impression of doing something while quite other, destructive policies were actually pursued. The consistent material results are the proof.
 

Dame_Enda

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Its disingenuous though, because 73% of NI exports to the rest of the UK go through Southern ports, according to a business representative on "The Tonight Show" on TV3 a few weeks ago.

Also, 37% of NI exports go to the South as a final destination, according to the Financial Times. That is higher than the 31% in the opening post of the thread.

As for why its not higher. NI probably started to be economically tied to the UK because of the Plantations, and pre-existing family and business ties to Great Britain dating from that time.
 

White Horse

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Northern Ireland is a very small market and the retail sector is dominated by UK multiples.
 

gleeful

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Feb 7, 2016
Messages
7,520
Exports
12.3% to GB, 1.6% to NI

Imports
24% from GB, 1.6% from NI

It’s a fairly small proportion in the overall context.
I would be fairly confident that Munster sells a large multiple to Leinster than what Ulster does.

What are the barriers?
- currency fluctuations
- tax
- 2 hour train between dublin and Belfast
- crap roads north of the border
- sectarianism
- a southern partitionist bigotry that they’re trouble “up there”

What can be done to improve trade? (Which is in everyone’s interest).


The only time I hear of tourists going north is to visit Titanic or hillwalking. Apart from rugby and the 12th exodus, there aren’t that many travelling south.

From finfacts
According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), the 2015 external sales of goods (including to Great Britain) by NI companies were estimated to be worth £18.3bn, 79.6% of all external sales. The value of services was £4.7bn.
Official data from HM Revenue & Customs show that in 2016 the Republic with a 31% share was the BIGGEST export market for NI's £7.8bn of manufacturing exports - see chart below.
There was a small trade deficit of £300,000 with the Republic and an overall goods deficit of £2.1bn in 2016. See data report here.
The EU accounted for 55% of export value.
Northern Ireland is poor. GDP per capita is 1/3rd of the south - which is a bigger wealth gap than between East and West Germany in 1989.
 

neiphin

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Aug 23, 2009
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Northern Ireland is poor. GDP per capita is 1/3rd of the south - which is a bigger wealth gap than between East and West Germany in 1989.
Really
link ?
 

gleeful

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Really
link ?
GDP per capita in 1989 for East Germany was $9,600 and for the West it was $15,300

So the West was 1.6 times richer in those terms.

The GDP per capita for the Republic of Ireland is $61k and around $23-27k (although as Sterling so so unstable lately, and so much of the North's economy is based on EU and UK state funding and support - its hard to put an exact number on it). But the gap is around 2 to 3 times.

And yes, GDP is not a perfect measure of the Republic's economy either. However, whatever way you look at it, the gap between the north and the south is far greater than that between east and west Germany.
 


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